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Vatican makes series of denials in 'Vatileaks' and IOR cases

'No cardinal under investigation' says Lombardi

28 May, 16:43
Vatican makes series of denials in 'Vatileaks' and IOR cases (ANSA) - Vatican City, May 28 - The Vatican on Monday denied reports that a cardinal and a woman were being probed in the so-called 'Vatileaks' case and denied that the investigation had anything to do with a recent high-profile sacking at the Vatican Bank. "No cardinal is under investigation," said Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, before he also "categorically denied" that an unnamed woman was being questioned. The anonymous reports surfaced in Italian media after Pope Benedict XVI's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was detained on Friday for allegedly being in possession of illegally obtained documents linked to the so-called 'Vatileaks' scandal, which rocked the Catholic Church earlier this year when sensitive Church papers began appearing in the Italian press. The documents included letters to the pope and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano', who was the deputy governor of Vatican City when they were written. The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City. A person said to be involved in the leaks said "cardinals and Monsignors" were involved too, along with their secretaries and "small fry" like Gabriele. Lombardi said Monday that "no one else is under investigation at the moment".

A day before Gabriele was named a suspect, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi stepped down as president of the Vatican Bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), following a no-confidence vote by the board of directors. "The two issues must be kept separate," said Lombardi, adding that the two issues are being "confused" because they happened one day apart. Vatican experts said Gotti Tedeschi's split with the bank was likely linked to internal tensions regarding the Vatican's efforts to secure inclusion on the international 'white list' of countries which are considered to have acceptable financial transparency laws, unlike tax havens.

Once a close adviser to former Italian economy minister Giulio Tremonti, Gotti Tedeschi was named president of the Vatican bank in 2009, shortly before Rome prosecutors froze 23 million euros from the bank in two cash transfers deemed suspicious under Italy's money-laundering laws.

On September 21, 2010 Gotti Tedeschi and IOR Director-General Paolo Cipriani were placed under investigation.

"We asked to be questioned, everything was done according to the rules," said Gotti Tedeschi, then suspected along with Cipriani of failure to observe Italian money-laundering rules.

Prosecutors unfroze the money last June citing a new Vatican law as one of the motives for releasing the funds.