Just when the Catholic Church didn’t need another scandal, Italian authorities have seized 23 million euros ($30.2 million) from a Vatican bank account and begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money laundering probe.
Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution Tuesday and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank’s director general and its chairman — a man who speaks frequently about morality in financing — under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy’s anti-laundering laws, news reports said.
The is probe not the first time the bank — formally known as the Institute for Religious Works— has faced trouble. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
In a statement, the Vatican said it had been working for some time to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations.