1942: Vatican bank set up to finance works of charity worldwide. From the start activities of the bank were controversial and there were allegations of questionable movements of money and gold during and after the Second World War.
2010: Italian investigators froze US$33 million in funds that the vatican bank put in an Italian bank because of suspicion of money laundering and less than legitimate vatican financial practices. The vatican bankers were “unable to respond” to a series of requests about questionable money transfers of $1.5 billion from the account in a short period of time. The money freeze was lifted in June 2011 but the investigation continued. JP Morgan became nervous after Italian investigators found the account in a Milan bank and began to question vatican officials. Not getting good answers, it then closed the Milan account, saying anti-money laundering regulations did not permit its continued operation.
Still At It
June 2013: The new pope has incentive to do something since there is a new money-laundering case: a Holy See monsignor Nunzio Scarano, withdrew more than a half-million euros in charitable donations (yes, yours!) from the bank and then used the money to pay off his personal mortgage. Also, Italian prosecutors are investigating two former vatican bank top executives on suspicion of repeatedly breaking Italian money laundering laws.