German appointed to head scandal-hit Vatican bank
By Robin Pomeroy | February 16, 2013 1:35 AM EST
The Vatican appointed German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg on Friday to head its bank, filling a post left vacant since May when the previous chief was ousted from the scandal-tainted institution.
The appointment, made by a commission of cardinals, was approved by Pope Benedict and is likely one of his last major decisions before he resigns at the end of the month, a move he announced on Monday, stunning Catholics around the world.
Italian magistrates are investigating suspected money laundering at the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), accusations it has denied but which added to its reputation for poor financial transparency and decades of scandals.
A Vatican statement said Freyberg, a devout Catholic who is a Knight of Malta, an elite member of a charitable organization that has its roots in the crusades, brought "a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process".
Born in 1958, he is chairman of Hamburg-based shipbuilder Blohm+Voss and is on the advisory board of temporary employment agency Manpower GmbH
In May, the then president of IOR, Italian Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted after the bank's board passed a motion of no-confidence, accusing him of neglecting his basic management responsibilities.
The unusually abrupt dismissal, along with the arrest of the pope's butler for stealing confidential papal documents, was the culmination of a leaks scandal that shook the Vatican and weighed on Benedict's papacy.
The Vatican has been trying to shed its image as a suspect financial center since 1982, when Roberto Calvi, an Italian known as "God's Banker" because of his links to the Vatican, was found hanging from London's Blackfriars Bridge.
In July, a European anti-money laundering committee said the Vatican bank failed to meet all its standards on fighting money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes.
The Vatican passed in nine of 16 "key and core" aspects of its financial dealings and is putting into place changes to meet recommendations in the other areas.
But the report found major failings in the running of the bank and called for changed.
Rome magistrates investigating money laundering froze 23 million euros ($33 million) that IOR held in an Italian bank in 2010.
The Vatican said at the time that its bank did nothing wrong and was merely transferring its own funds between its own accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June 2011 but the investigation is continuing.
(Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Philip Pullella and Jon Hemming)
Most Popular Slideshows
- NFL MNF: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Houston Texans 23 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 1: San Francisco Giants 7, Kansas City Royals 1 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series - Game 2: Kansas City Royals 7, San Francisco Giants 2 [PHOTOS]
- NFL Thursday Recap - Denver Broncos 35, San Diego Chargers 21: Peyton Manning Has 3 TDs In Easy Win [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- ASUS Releases A Teaser Indicating The Arrival of New Zenfone and ZenWatch On October 28
- Boy Stoned To Death For Alleged Rape, Victim Receives Dowry From Militants
- Xiaomi Redmi 1S vs. Sharp Aquos Crystal – Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- Three Dual SIM Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos Variants Comes To China
- Russia is Creating Underwater Combat Robots to Protect its Arctic Territories
- ‘Lone Wolf’ Attack on Canada Parliament Hill Could be ISIS-Related
- Swedish Military Spots ‘Russian Submarine’ Off Stockholm Coast, An Alarming ‘Security Game Changer’