Vatican bank denies new chief has conflict of interest

Last Updated: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 03:04

Rome: The Vatican bank on Friday denied that its new chief executive faces a conflict of interest as his son works for a company brought in to audit the scandal-hit institution`s accounts.

Italian magazine L`Espresso reported that Jean-Baptiste de Franssu`s son works for Promontory Financial Group, which is conducting a forensic investigation into the bank and its client relationships.

Louis-Victor Douville works as a London-based analyst for the US company, according to its website.
"The question of a conflict of interest is not an issue for us because, by law, the AIF (the Vatican`s financial watchdog), has approved the appointment of our president," bank spokesman Max Hohenberg told AFP.

The issue is the latest scandal to hit the Vatican bank, also known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), after a year of internal investigations led to the closure or suspension of thousands of suspicious, ineligible or inactive accounts.

Allegations of money laundering have dogged the bank for decades, most famously in the early 1980s when it was the main shareholder of the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in amid accusations of links with the Sicilian Mafia.
More recently the bank has been investigated for money laundering by Italian authorities, with its director general and his deputy placed under investigation and forced to resign last year.

De Franssu, the 51-year-old former chief of Invesco Europe, was named as its new head on July 9 as part of a radical overhaul of the Holy See`s economic framework ordered by Pope Francis.

According to L`Espresso, his son was hired at Promontory a few months earlier.

AFP

First Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 03:04

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