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Vatican Bank

From Academic Kids

The Vatican Bank is a common name given to the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) or Institute for Religious Works, the central bank for the Roman Catholic Church located in Vatican City.

The head of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989, Paul Casimir Marcinkus lives in retirement in Sun City, Arizona. Marcinkus was indicted in Italy in 1982 as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, an Italian financial institution with close ties to the Vatican Bank, but never came to trial in Italy, where courts ruled that as a Vatican employee he was immune from prosecution. The Vatican Bank refused to admit legal responsibility for the Ambrosiano's downfall but did acknowledge "moral involvement", and paid $241m (169m) to creditors.

Allegations

Several thoroughly documented books that appeared during the 1990s were highly critical of the Vatican Bank's historical relations with Nazi governments in Germany and especially in the collaborationist regime of Croatia. They engendered initial defensive hostility and controversy. The controversy centers on conclusions drawn from the documentation rather than the documents themselves. According to a 1998 report issued by the US State Department, the Nazi Croatian treasury was illicitly transferred to the Vatican Bank and other banks after the end of World War II. For its part, the Vatican has repeatedly denied any Franciscan participation in Ustasi crimes or the disappearance of the Croatian Treasury, yet has refused to open its wartime records to substantiate its denial.

The declassification in 1997 of a 1946 memo from US Treasury agent Emerson Bigelow, quoting a "reliable source in Italy", who alerted his superior that Croatian officials had sent 350 million confiscated Swiss francs (CHF) to the Vatican Bank "for safekeeping". On the way some CHF150 million were apparently seized by British authorities at the border between Austria and Switzerland, which brought the secret transfer into the open. "There is no basis in reality to the report," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, as reported in Time magazine [1] (http://www.time.com/time/search/article/0,8599,8505,00.html).

Legal action

A class action suit, Emil Alperin et al. v. Vatican Bank et al., was filed in United States district court in San Francisco on November 15, 1999. The plaintiffs are concentration camp survivors of Serb, Jewish, and Ukrainian background and their relatives as well as organizations representing over 300,000 Holocaust victims. John Loftus, author of Unholy Trinity, serves as an expert witness in this case.

Another suit, Levy v. CIA, filed under the US Freedom of Information Act seeking release of US intelligence agency files regarding the notorius Vatican spymaster, Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic. New records on Draganovic were released as a result of that lawsuit in 2001.


External links

(The following external links are all critical of the Vatican Bank.)

nl:Vaticaanse bank

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