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German Named New Head of Vatican Bank

Business  (tags: Vatican Bank, Freyberg, finance expert, scandal, pope, business )

- 1949 days ago -
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.

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Angelika R (143)
Friday February 15, 2013, 11:32 am

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a German lawyer and financier to head the Vatican bank, completing his most important item of unfinished business before renouncing the papacy at the end of the month.

Ernst von Freyberg, chairman of a Hamburg-based engineering company, fills a position left vacant since last May when the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) sacked Ettore Gotti Tedeschi for incompetence and “progressively erratic” behaviour in the midst of a probe by Italian prosecutors into suspected money laundering activities.

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The bank’s lay board and a commission of cardinals voted unanimously to appoint Mr von Freyberg, 54, from a list of 40 candidates presented by an outside headhunting firm. The pope gave his full consent, the Vatican said yesterday/FRIDAY.

Pope Benedict, 85, stunned the Catholic world on Monday when he announced his decision to leave the pontificate on February 28, becoming the first pope to stand down in nearly 600 years. The pontiff said his mental and physical health was waning.

The Pope intends to retire to a newly refurbished former monastery inside the walls of the Vatican state and has told priests he would be “hidden from the world”. But his proximity to his successor, to be elected by a conclave of cardinals next month, and yesterday’s decision to fill the vacancy at the IOR have raised questions about his continued influence over Vatican affairs.

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Elected in 2005, Pope Benedict inherited a secretive Vatican bank haunted by corruption scandals and alleged links to organised crime. Most memorably it became entangled in the fraudulent collapse of Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s, which resulted in the death of its former chairman. Roberto Calvi was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars bridge in 1982, a presumed victim of the mafia.

Mr Gotti Tedeschi, an Italian banker and professor of ethics, was appointed head of the IOR in 2009 and tasked with bringing the bank into the modern world. The next year, however, Italian prosecutors opened a probe into suspected money laundering and seized €23m in funds. Mr Gotti Tedeschi denied the allegations, claiming he was forced out because of opposition he encountered in trying to implement reform.

Mr von Freyberg’s mandate will be to complete the process begun by his predecessor, with the goal of getting the Vatican on to a so-called “white list” of states that comply with international standards against tax fraud and money laundering.

The bank’s reputation took a further knock at the end of last year, when Italy’s central bank blocked electronic payments in the city state following its alleged failure to comply fully with international anti-money laundering rules.

Sue Matheson (79)
Friday February 15, 2013, 12:30 pm

Past Member (0)
Friday February 15, 2013, 11:10 pm
Who cares??? Same od same old.....

Jodi Ashley (2)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 2:44 am

Jaime Alves (52)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 7:02 am
Noted, thanks.!!

Bruno Moreira (61)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 8:26 am

Winnie A (179)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 4:28 pm

Birgit W (160)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 4:30 pm

marie C (163)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 4:40 pm
Noted and thanks

Joy M (169)
Saturday February 16, 2013, 5:48 pm
Noted.. Thanmk you

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday February 17, 2013, 1:36 pm
Noted. Such corruption in the Catholic church! Stay tuned....
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