ROME – A probe has been opened by Rome magistrates to determine whether the Vatican bank, the Istituto Opere di Religione (IOR), violated Italian laws against money laundering.
The probe is focusing on one or more accounts IOR opened with Unicredit, Italy’s biggest bank, through which some 60 million euros transited over the past three years.
In particular, the investigation will seek to verify whether a 2007 Italian law on transparency in regard to the identity of the account holder or executor was violated.
The possibility that the Vatican accounts violated this law was brought forward by the Bank of Italy special ‘financial intelligence’ unit which passed the information to the Finance Guard which, in turn, forwarded the case to the Rome justice department.
Judicial sources said the probe is currently centered on clarifying the “opaque screen” which hid the identity of the person, persons or organizations that had actual control over the IOR accounts.
Investigators are also trying to discover the beneficiaries of checks and bank drafts issued from the IOR accounts and who ordered them. The accounts were opened at a branch of Unicredit, then Banca di Roma, located on the avenue which leads into St Peter’s Square, via della Conciliazione, in Italian territory.
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