New Vatican Bank president 'likely within next few days'
'Pope's resignation won't alter IOR search' says Holy See13 February, 15:56
The hunt to find a replacement for the head of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the official name of the Vatican's bank, is continuing successfully, said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office.
"It's likely that in the next days there will be the appointment of the president of the IOR," Lombardi said two days after Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign as of February 28. "The process started a long time ago and I see no reason to stop due to the resignation of the pope". The IOR has been without a president since May 2012 when its Italian head Ettore Gotti Tedeschi resigned, following a no-confidence vote by the board of directors of the bank.
The job was temporarily filled by Vice-President Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz.
Vatican experts have speculated that part of the reason Gotti Tedeschi's split with the bank was over internal tensions linked to the bank's efforts to get onto an international 'white list' of countries which are considered to have acceptable financial transparency laws.
The bank has in the past been linked with numerous scandals including allegations of money-laundering.
And in recent days, Gotti Tedeschi has been questioned by prosecutors investigating suspect operations at the troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank.
The prosecutors wanted to talk to Gotti Tedeschi about MPS's nine-billion-euro acquisition of Antonveneta in 2008 from Spanish bank Santander.
Gotti Tedeschi was in charge of Santander's operations in Italy before becoming president of the IOR in 2009.