.- Responding to allegations of money laundering, the president of the Vatican bank told Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli that "there's nothing hidden, nor (anything) to hide." The president said the bank hopes to be on the "White list" for banks that conform to international anti-money laundering policies by December.
President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi of the Vatican's Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), or as many call it, the "Vatican Bank," told Andrea Tornielli of the Italian daily "Il Giornale" that he feels "bitterness and humiliation" at the allegations made against him this week. He and the IOR are being investigated by Italian authorities for money laundering to the tune of $30 million.
The authorities seized this quantity after it was deposited by the IOR at the private Italian bank Credito Artigiano SpA, saying that the Vatican institution had not complied with an Italian anti-money laundering law from 2007 that requires the disclosure of information about account holders and beneficiaries.
A Tuesday statement from the Holy See's Secretariat of State responded to the allegations saying that the bank has a "clear desire for full transparencyâ and expressing confidence that the truth would emerge.
Gotti Tedeschi himself said that from the time he assumed the presidency a year ago, he has been working to make every operation "more transparent and in line with the international anti-money laundering guidelines."
He told Tornielli that they hope to be on the "White list" of countries that respect these international guidelines by December.
Of the $30 million transaction being investigated, he said that the money was sent by Credito Artigiano SpA to JP Morgan of Frankfurt simply for bond investments, from one IOR account to another.
Asked why the bank is being investigated for money laundering in that case, Gotti Tedeschi said, "(w)e are acting out the norms. In the case under investigation it was about an error in the procedures carried out with the Credito Artigiano (Bank). But the operation is very clear, there is nothing hidden, nor to (anything) to hide: just a transfer of funds from the same IOR."
The IOR president said that he has met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was "very concerned" about the matter, but has expressed support for him. Incredulous at the accusations of money laundering, Gotti observed that, "an error in procedure is being used as an excuse to attack the IOR, its president and in general the Vatican."
Assuring his continued cooperation with investigations, he said that the bank is willing to "furnish information, (but) it would be sufficient to ask us for it rather than slamming us on the front page."