Move over sex scandals. The Vatican's got a money laundering probe on its hands. Italian authorities have frozen $30 million at the Vatican Bank following two large money transfers that the Vatican didn't provide "enough information about." The alleged wrongdoings are still pretty hazy but here's what we know so far.
The Vatican Is Backing Its Man, writes MSNBC: "In a statement, the Vatican said it had been working for some time to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations. It expresses full trust in the head of the bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and the director-general."
The Bank Has Had Issues Before This, writes JJ Sutherland at NPR: "The bank was involved in a major scandal back in 1982 when it got involved in the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano. The president of that bank, Roberto Calvi, was found hanged under a bridge in London."
It's Held to Pretty Strict Rules, writes CNN's wire staff: "The Vatican Bank is subject to particularly stringent anti-money laundering regulations because Italian law does not consider it to be operating within the European Union."
The Vatican Didn't See This Coming, reports Reuters:
The Vatican confirmed the Rome magistrates’ action in a statement that expressed “perplexity and amazement” at the move and “utmost faith” in the two men who head the bank, officially known as Institute for Religious Works (IOR). It said the bank had committed no wrongdoing because it was transferring its own money between its own accounts. The IOR primarily manages funds for the Vatican and religious institutions around the world, such as charity organisations and religious orders of priests and nuns.
Maybe the Vatican Doesn't Deserve to Keep Its Sovereignty, suggests Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy: "The current investigation could add more fuel to the current debate over Vatican sovereignty, which was prompted by the pope's recent visit to Britain. Anti-pope campaigners like the British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell argue that the Holy See's officially recognized sovereignty and observer status at the United Nations give it unwarranted authority in international debates over subjects like birth control, abortion and homosexuality while protecting priests and Vatican officials from prosecution."