Vatican spokesman defends its bank after probe

The Vatican`s spokesman defended the city state`s bank on the bank`s executives.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 18:55 PM IST

London: The Vatican`s spokesman defended
the city state`s bank in a letter published by the Financial
Times on Thursday after the daily reported on the prosecutors`
investigation on the bank`s executives.

"It is appropriate that I should seek to avoid the spread
of inaccurate information and to ensure that no damage is
caused to the institute or the good name of its managers,"
Federico Lombardi wrote.

The Office for Religious Works (IOR) -- the bank`s
official name -- came under fire on Tuesday after its
president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and chief executive Paolo
Cipriani allegedly violated laws on disclosing financial
operations to the Italian central bank introduced in a bid to
stamp out money laundering.

Prosecutors in Rome ordered the seizure of 23 million
euros (USD 30 million) belonging to the Vatican-owned bank
after the financial intelligence office at the Bank of Italy
noticed two IOR operations it deemed suspicious.

"The current problem was caused by a misunderstanding
(now being examined) between the IOR and the bank which
received the transfer order," Lombardi wrote.

He reiterated arguments already made by the Vatican
newspaper and Secretariat of State in reaction to the probe,
including the fact that the IOR "is not a bank in the normal
definition of the term."

PTI