Raids and arrests cast doubt on the Holy See’s clean-up

THE BLOCK of shops, offices and apartments at 60 Sloane Avenue was once a warehouse for Harrods of London. Now it is the focal point of the latest financial scandal to rock the Vatican—potentially the worst since Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, whose buccaneering presidency of the Vatican Bank in the 1970s and 1980s led it to deal with Masons and mobsters. At stake now, as then, is not just the probity of an individual, but the trustworthiness of the Holy See’s system of financial governance.

On October 1st the Vatican’s gendarmes, on orders from its prosecutors, raided the offices of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the banking regulator, and the Secretariat of State, which combines the roles of prime minister’s office and foreign ministry in the Vatican administration. They were looking for “documents and electronic devices”, the Vatican said. A leaked circular to the Swiss Guards, who control access to the walled city, showed that among the five officials suspended pending the outcome of the investigation was the AIF’s director, Tommaso Di Ruzza.

“It’s a nightmare,” says a senior Vatican official. “It risks undoing everything we have achieved in the past eight years.” In 2011 the Vatican agreed to inspection of its financial sector by Moneyval, Europe’s anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist-financing watchdog...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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