Italian investigators have charged four priests with laundering money out of the Vatican’s official bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the National Catholic Reporter’s John L. Allen Jr. writes.The Italian daily l’Unita was the first to report that the priests were being investigated for laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s the latest in a series of investigations into Vatican finances dating back to 2010. In December of that year, Pope Benedict XVI decreed an updated anti-money laundering law for Vatican finances.
Late last month, an Italian TV program published letters written by the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. that charged the Holy See’s financial planners with cronyism and corruption.
In the letters, published by the popular Italian news magazine program “The Untouchables,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said that his appointment to the U.S. was motivated by a desire to get him out of Rome because he was causing headaches, according to Les Echoes’ Guillaume Delacroix.
Viganò worried that his removal would cause disillusion among those hoping to clean up “corruption and dishonesty” in the city-state, including rigged contract bids and mismanaged investments, Allen reports.
The Vatican has denied the charges.
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