Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former president of the Institute for Religious Works, or Vatican bank, has been cleared today in a money-laundering investigation and has vowed to take legal action.
In its judgement, the Criminal Court of Rome ruled that Gotti Tedeschi was working to bring the Vatican’s financial institution into line with international anti-money-laundering standards when he was sacked.
The Italian financier, who is a close friend of Benedict XVI, was ignominuously dismissed in May 2012 after the bank’s board issued a no-confidence vote and a nine point list of personal and professional shortcomings.
In a five-page statement, the banker’s attorneys said the ruling vindicated their client and “shows the unfounded … accusations” made by the bank’s board when it fired him.
The lawyers threatened legal action and said the ruling showed the board had committed “grave errors and thus grave damage to the Holy See” by firing their client when he was working to improve transparency and accountability.
The court ruling exonerating Gotti Tedeschi stems from a 2010 money-laundering investigation by Rome prosecutors. Police seized 23 million euros ($31.5 million), though it was later ordered released. The Court said it excluded the Italian financier “from every responsibility in the operation.”
On ZENIT’s webpage: Full Text of Lawyer Statement.