Anti Mafia prosecutors have asked the secretive Vatican Bank to disclose details of an account held by a priest in connection with a money laundering and fraud investigation, it emerged on Sunday.
By Nick Pisa in Rome
10:25PM BST 10 Jun 2012
The official request was made more than a month ago but so far the Vatican Bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, has refused to disclose any records of the account held by father Ninni Treppiedi – who is currently suspended from serving as a priest.
Investigators want to know more about vast sums of money that are said to have passed through his account to establish if they were money laundering operations by on the run Mafia Godfather, Matteo Messina Denaro.
The reports emerged in the Italian media and came just two weeks after the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was sacked amid claims of power struggles and corruption within the Holy See which have been linked to the leaking of sensitive documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI.
More in line with a Dan Brown thriller, it is not the first time that the Vatican Bank has been embroiled in claims of Mafia money laundering. Thirty years ago this month financier Roberto Calvi was found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge with cash and bricks stuffed into his pockets.
Initially City of London police recorded the death as suicide but Italian authorities believe it was murder after it emerged Calvi, known as God's Banker because of his links to the Vatican Bank, had been trying to launder millions of pounds of mob money via its accounts and through his own Banco Ambrosiano which had collapsed spectacularly.