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Judge dismisses complaint against Vatican in swindle case

February 02, 2012

A federal judge in Mississippi has dismissed a complaint against the Vatican, brought by insurance commissioners in connection with an elaborate financial scheme conducted by a man who had no connection with the Holy See.

The insurance commissioners of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas brought their complaint against the Vatican in 2002, after a man named Martin Frankel took funds from insurance companies in a complicated financial scheme.

Frankel, working under a pseudonym, claimed that he was a “financial advisor” to the Vatican, and set up a foundation which he claimed had the personal authorization of the late Pope John Paul II. With those bogus credentials he managed to manipulate insurance companies.

When informed about the scheme, Church officials said that Frankel had no connection with the Vatican. Questioned about his “charitable” work, which Frankel said was done in partnership with Rome, the Vatican replied that “no such Foundation has the approval of the Holy See or exists in the Vatican.” Jeffrey Lena, a lawyer who represented the Holy See in the case, said that the insurance commissioners lacked a viable case against the Vatican, and added that diligent investigation would have revealed that Frankel was making false claims. He suggested:

The insurance commissioners’ lawsuit against the Holy See, which alleged a wide-ranging Vatican conspiracy and cast aspersions upon numerous respected Holy See officials, perhaps effectively shifted the spotlight from the regulators’ own conduct.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 03, 2012 2:09 PM ET USA

    The good judge charitably referred to their stupidity as "conduct."