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Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, chairman of the Vatican bank, could be sacked over alleged corruption and money-laundering. Riccardo De Luca/AP
Vatican Bank

Cardinals split on whether to sack head of Vatican Bank

The Pope’s second-in-command reportedly wants the sacking of the bank’s president – but Cardinals aren’t so sure.

CARDINALS TASKED with deciding the fate of the president of the Vatican Bank – amid financial scandals and a struggle for power in the Holy See – are struggling to come to an agreement, media reports said today.

The commission of cardinals must decide whether or not to uphold the board’s decision to oust Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was fired for failing to clean up the institution’s image amid accusations of corruption and money-laundering.

But the cardinals are reportedly split, with two of the four siding with Gotti Tedeschi, widening the bitter rift between the financial ethics expert and Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican number two.

It was Bertone who reportedly pushed the bank’s board to fire their president as internal divisions over financial transparency came to a head.

“The cardinals are split. Two have refused to vote the measure backed by Bertone,” the Corriere della Sera said.

According to the Repubblica daily, “the split within the organisation” is also linked to the Vatileaks scandal, which has seen whistleblowers leak documents to the press, apparently in an attempt to bring Bertone down.

‘White list’

Gotti Tedeschi’s mission was to get the Vatican on to the “white list” of financially virtuous countries, but tensions grew after Bertone resisted reform and pushed for a new transparency law to be watered down.

Cardinal Attilio Nicora, head of the Vatican’s internal watchdog and a member of the commission, particularly resents Bertone for interference which is slowing the move towards financial transparency, according to Vatican watchers.

Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s experts on anti-money laundering, is due to rule at the beginning of July on the whether the Holy See has managed to clean up its act and meet international monetary standards.

Gotti Tedeschi was put in charge of the bank – also known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) – in 2009, in an effort on the part of the Vatican to rid the institution of scandal, but was unceremoniously ousted last week.

The 67-year-old came under suspicion himself in 2010 when he was investigated as part of an inquiry by magistrates into money-laundering and was more recently also suspected of leaking secret papal documents to the press.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: More coverage of the Vatileaks scandal >

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