Vatican Bank: Follow the Money if you can

By Chris Caldwell

On January 4, 2013, a month before Pope Benedict resigned, the Italian Central Bank turned the lights off on the entire Vatican. The Vatican no longer had the ability to make any electronic financial transactions. Italian authorities asserted that the Vatican was not in compliance with international money-laundering rules.

This was a clear message that put tremendous pressure on Pope Benedict.

Part of the pressure, as we now know through public records, some of which will be detailed, was that there were indeed financial corruption and offshore accounts in powerful places within the Catholic Church — forces that would have been opposed to any effort of Pope Benedict to clean it all up.

Among the multiple public revelations, after Benedict resigned, of financial corruption at the Vatican, two stand out as good examples.


The first example is the prosecution of the Vatican bank’s president for a money-laundering scheme. The Vatican bank president was held responsible for losses of more than 62 million dollars from real estate sales — allegedly involving the selling of Vatican-owned real estate at under-value prices to offshore companies, then reselling the buildings at market rates, allowing the president of the Vatican Bank to allegedly make huge profits from the difference.

More money-laundering

The second example is that the Vatican’s senior accountant of real estate was accused of using the Vatican bank to launder money from Vatican properties. The police froze accounts and seized the Vatican accountant’s real estate company and two of his apartments for a total of about 7.3 million dollars. The accountant had lived in a luxury 17-room apartment decorated with original artwork worth 8.1 million dollars.

The Vatican accountant denied the money-laundering accusations, saying his 7.3 million dollars had come from “donations.” Police said it came from illegal money-laundering from offshore companies controlled by his friends.

The BBC reported that American financial inspectors, appointed by Pope Francis, believe that the senior accountant for the Vatican’s real estate may not have been alone in having used the Vatican bank for money-laundering operations.

Earlier, before the public revelations of the financial corruption … Read more>>


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