IOR Probe Stems From Misunderstanding, Vatican Newspaper Says

An Italian investigation of the Vatican Bank and its two top executives for alleged violations of money-laundering laws is the result of a misunderstanding, a Vatican newspaper said.

The probe stems from a “misunderstanding, which is being cleared up,” between the Institute for Works of Religion, or the IOR as the Vatican Bank is called, “and the bank that had received the wire-transfer order,” daily L’Osservatore Romano said today in an editorial.

The IOR “cannot be considered a bank as it is commonly understood,” the newspaper said. The IOR manages the Catholic Church’s global assets and, “based in Vatican City, is outside the jurisdiction of the various national banks” of Italy.

Italian police this week temporarily seized 23 million euros ($31 million) from an account at Credito Artigiano SpA registered to the IOR, as Rome prosecutors probe its Chairman Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and Director General Paolo Cipriani for allegedly omitting information from two wire transfers in possible violation of money-laundering laws.