Pope Launches Inquiry – Vatican Official Arrested
Posted by Deus Nexus on June 28, 2013 Reposted from:
Daily Mail. By
- Comes as Vatican official placed under investigation for money laundering
- Previous leaks revealed dysfunction, turf wars and alleged corruption
- The Vatican bank’s workings have long been shrouded in secrecy
Pope Francis in St Peter’s square today: He has announced a probe into the activities of the highly secretive and scandal-tainted Vatican Bank
Pope Francis ordered an inquiry into the activities of the Vatican bank today, after fresh accusations of corruption and continued questions about its secrecy.
Francis named a commission to investigate the bank’s legal structure and activities ‘to allow for a better harmonization with the universal mission of the Apostolic See,’ according to the legal document that created it.
The announcement came after prosecutors in Salerno placed senior Vatican official Monsignor Nunzio Scarano under investigation for alleged money-laundering.
Scarano has said he did nothing wrong, though in an interview with the local daily, La Citta di Salerno, he acknowledged he received bad advice from his accountant.
The five-member commission includes two Americans: Monsignor Peter Wells, a top official in the Vatican secretariat of state, and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See and current president of a pontifical academy.
American cardinals were among the most vocal in demanding a wholesale reform of the Vatican bureaucracy – and the Vatican bank – in the meetings running up to the March conclave that elected Francis pope.
The demands were raised following revelations in leaked documents last year that told of dysfunction, petty turf wars and allegations of corruption in the Holy See’s governance.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Francis has intervened to get information out of the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR.
On June 15, he filled a key vacancy in the bank’s governing structure, tapping a trusted prelate to be his eyes inside the bank.
Francis, who has made clear he wants a ‘poor’ church, has already named a separate commission of cardinals to advise him on the broader question of reforming the Vatican bureaucracy as a whole.
The Vatican bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage assets destined for religious or charitable works.
Located in a tower just inside the gates of Vatican City, it also manages the pension system for the Vatican’s thousands of employees.
The bank commission’s members have the authority to gather documents, data and information about the bank’s legal status and activities, even overriding normal secrecy rules to do so.
Members can receive information from anyone in the Vatican bureaucracy as well as people who spontaneously volunteer information, and the commission can refer to outside advisers if necessary, according to the terms.
The bank’s administration continues to function as normal, as does the Vatican’s new financial watchdog agency which has supervisory control over it.
The commission will report back to Francis – presumably with both information and recommendations – and then will be dissolved, the document states.
No timeframe was given but the commission is to start working soon.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed today that Scarano had been suspended temporarily from his position in one of the Vatican’s key finance offices, the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported over the weekend that Italy’s central bank had asked the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency for information about Scarano’s Vatican bank account as part of the probe.
Mr Lombardi said he didn’t know if the Vatican had responded to the request.
There have long been questions about just what the IOR actually is and does – questions which the commission presumably will try to iron out for Francis.
Vatican officials have long insisted it’s not even a bank, since it doesn’t perform key banking activities like making loans.
It does however take deposits, transfer money and invest for its clients, performing asset management services that in 2012 helped earn it 86.6 million euros in profit on 7.1 billion euros in total assets under management.
Some cardinals have questioned if the Vatican needs such a financial institution and whether its activities are even in keeping with church teaching.
The Vatican bank’s workings have long been shrouded in secrecy. Most famously, it was implicated in a scandal over the collapse of Italy’s Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s in one of Italy’s largest fraud cases.
Roberto Calvi, the head of Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982 in circumstances that remain mysterious. Vatican bank cleric arrested in €20m corruption inquiryMonsignor Nunzio Scarano, 61, accused of trying to help friends bring millions of euros into Italy from Switzerland by planeReposted from:
A senior Vatican cleric suspected of trying to help rich friends bring millions of euros into Italy illegally has been arrested as part of an investigation into the Vatican bank.
Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, 61, who worked as a senior accountant in the Vatican’s financial administration, is involved in another investigation by magistrates in southern Italy. He was arrested in a parish in the outskirts of Rome and taken to the city’s Queen of Heaven jail, his lawyer, Silverio Sica, said. Also arrested in the investigation were a member of Italy’s secret services and a financial broker.
Sica said Scarano was accused of being involved in an attempt to help friends bring €20m (£17m) into Italy from Switzerland by plane, in league with the secret service agent and a financial intermediary.
The lawyer, who had access to the charge sheet, said the money never left Switzerland. Detectives identified the secret service agent as Giovanni Zitto and the broker as Giovanni Carenzio. It was not clear what role the bank had, if any, in the latest developments.
A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said Vatican authorities were willing to co-operate with the investigation, but had so far received no official request. He said the AIF, the Vatican’s financial authority, was monitoring the case and would take action if necessary.
The arrests came two days after the Vatican announced Pope Francis had set up a commission of inquiry into the bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion, which has been hit by a numerous scandals over the years.
Scarano worked for years as a senior accountant for a Vatican department known as the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. He was suspended from his duties several weeks ago when he was placed under investigation by magistrates in the southern city of Salerno, his home town.
In that inquiry, Sica said wealthy friends had donated money to Scarano to help him build a home for the terminally ill. According to the lawyer, his client wanted to use that money to pay off his mortgage so he could sell a property in Salerno and use the proceeds to construct the facility.
In an apparent attempt to cover his tracks, Scarano has been accused of taking €560,000 in cash out of his account in the Vatican bank a little at a time, usually €10,000 and giving it to friends who then gave him cheques. He deposited the cheques into a separate bank account to pay off the mortgage.RELATED POSTS:
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