Vatican City, Oct 21, 2010 / 14:48 pm
An appeal from the Holy See's "bank" to recover millions of dollars frozen by Italian authorities in September has been declined. The Vatican expressed its "amazement" that the bank, known as the Institute of Religious Works, and its directors are still under investigation for allegedly not conforming to European anti-money laundering standards.
In September, authorities froze 23 million Euro (over $31 million) due to possible violations of Italian laws regarding disclosure. The original investigation concerned a pair of transactions between Vatican accounts in Italy and Germany that were blocked under suspicion of money laundering.
According to the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano, which quickly published an article highlighting the transparency of the Vatican bank’s operations, the situation was based on a "misunderstanding."
The case continued with Vatican bank president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and director general Paolo Cipriani being called into court for questioning. Both claimed no wrongdoing and pointed to internal transfer orders as the source of the problem.