Thursday, August 8, 2013

Business criminals hiding behind God: the Vatican bank

So Pope Francis today has decreed that the Vatican's internal watchdog, the Financial Information Authority (FIA), will have increased powers of supervision over the Vatican bank and other Holy See departments involved in financial activities.  This is like having the wolves watch the sheep.

There have been so many instances of money laundering by the Vatican and other suspicious financial activities that self-policing is not the answer.

In 2010 the Christian Science Monitor investigated vatican money laundering. An American archbishop, paul marcinkus who was head of the bank then was charged as an accessory to fraudulent bankruptcy following the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans to be given to institutions in South America. Money just disappears and they don’t have to open their accounting books to anyone.

Marcinkus was linked to another disappearance.  The Huffington Post, (4/14/12) reported on the unsolved case of Emanuela Orlandi who disappeared in 1983. Her father was a lay employee of the holy see. An anonymous caller told police that Emanuela was kidnapped on orders from Marcinkus, to keep her father Ercole Orlandi quiet.  It was thought that her body would be found in a church tomb but when it was opened but it wasn’t although a mobster was buried there (another blog topic to come). Ercole had stumbled upon sensitive documents that tied banker Roberto Calvi (later found hanged in 1982) to an organized crime syndicate.

Marcinkus was also indicted as an accessory in the $3.5-billion collapse of the vatican bank’s associated Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest private bank, which was used to launder drug money for the Sicilia mafia while the holy see was the main shareholder. Banco Ambrosiano’s head, Roberto Calvi, had close ties with the holy see (the pope and his entourage) and was called “God’s Banker.”  Calvi’s murderer was never found. Marcinkus avoided trial because of diplomatic immunity.

Money laundering, murder and kidnapping.  This is only one example. There are so many more examples that I will have to continue them on the next blog.