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|Sujet: Italian police probe Vatican bank officials Mar 21 Sep 2010 - 15:15|| |
By The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com, Updated: September 21, 2010 10:40 AM
Italian police probe Vatican bank officials
FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2003 file photo, Italian Carabinieri military police patrol St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. Italian financial police seized 23 million euros Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, from an account in the Vatican bank in an investigation into money laundering, Italian news reports said -- a new blow to the bank's image after a major banking scandal in the 1980s. (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, files)
VATICAN CITY - Just when the Catholic Church didn't need another scandal, Italian authorities have seized €23 million ($30.18 million) from a Vatican bank account and begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money laundering probe.
The Vatican said Tuesday it was "perplexed and surprised" by the investigation.
Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution Tuesday and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank's director general and its chairman — a man who speaks frequently about morality in financing — under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy's anti-laundering laws, news reports said.
The is probe not the first time the bank — formally known as the Institute for Religious Works — has faced trouble. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
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.