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German von Freyberg made new Vatican bank chief

'Full consent' of outgoing pope

15 February, 13:49
German von Freyberg made new Vatican bank chief (ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - The Vatican on Friday appointed German lawyer Ernst Freiherr von Freyberg as head of the embattled Vatican Bank, ending intense media speculation over the nomination.

Von Freyberg was appointed by the bank's commission of cardinals with the pope's ''full consent'', the Vatican said.

However Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi denied that Pope Benedict XVI, who on Monday announced his resignation with effect from the end of the month, knew the new bank chief personally.

The bank, otherwise known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), has been under the interim leadership of the vice-president Ronaldo Hermann Schmit since former president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was fired by the supervisory board in May 2012 amid reported disagreements on moves to join a list of financially transparent countries.

Von Freyberg, 55, is an active member of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta and the co-leader of the Association for Pilgrimages to Lourdes of the Archdiocese of Berlin.

On Thursday media reported that Belgian banker Bernard De Corte had been made president but the Vatican refused to confirm the rumours.