The Vatican Bank is under media fire as reports emerge that Italian prosecutors suspect it of laundering Sicilian mafia bosses’ riches.
The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, has so far refused to disclose details of an account held by a priest in connection with a money laundering and fraud investigation.
Father Ninni Treppiedi was sacked from serving as a priest after a series of church funds transactions made by his parish came to anti-mafia prosecutors’ attention this spring. The dealings, involving millions of euro, date back to 2007-2009.
Prosecutors suspect Treppiedi was involved in money-laundering operations linked to Matteo Messina Denaro, a Mafia Godfather on the run. The cleric’s former post in Aclamo, near Trapani, is said to be the richest parish in the Mafia stronghold of Sicily.
Trapani prosecutor Marcello Viola made the request to disclose Treppiedi’s account details over six weeks ago. But the Vatican, though confirming the request has been received, maintains the issue is not mafia-related.…The first reports on the scandal emerged in the Italian media two weeks after the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted after receiving a unanimous vote of no-confidence from bank overseers.
The banker is under investigation for another case of alleged money laundering. But there is speculation that the actual reason behind the no-confidence vote is that Tedeschi was aware of possible mafia links and leaked names and accounts details to police.