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Vatican bank director resigns

July 01, 2013

The director-general of the Vatican bank and his top deputy have resigned, as pressure mounts for thorough reform of the bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

Paolo Cipriani, who has been director-general of the IOR since 2007, has stepped down, as did his deputy, Massimo Tulli. The Vatican announced on July 1 that the resignations had been accepted “in the best interests of the Institute and the Holy See.” Ernst von Freyberg, the newly appointed president of the IOR, issued as statement thanking Cipriani and Tulli for their years of service.

No accusations have been leveled against the outgoing director. But Cipriani’s tenure at the IOR has been tumultuous, with the Vatican bank facing repeated complaints about a lack of transparency and lax supervision of financial transactions. In 2010 Cipriani-- along with the former IOR president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi-- was questioned by Italian banking regulators in a probe into suspected money-laundering.

Cipriani’s resignation came shortly after Italian police arrested a Vatican official, Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, on charges of attempting to move €20 million ($26 million) in cash into Italy. Although the IOR was not directly involved in that alleged crime, and the accused cleric is not employed by the Vatican bank, the arrest brought to light earlier charges that Msgr. Scarano had laundered money through his personal account at the IOR.

Pope Francis has indicated a determination to end the scandals surrounding the Vatican bank. Last week he appointed a special commission to study the IOR and recommend an approach “to allow its better harmonization with the mission of the universal Church.”


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