The surprise move by lawyers for Ettore Gotti Tedeschi came after
months of relative calm for the Vatican bank under its new
president, German Ernst Von Freyberg.
Gotti Tedeschi was ousted after a no confidence vote by its lay
board on May 24 at the height of the "Vatileaks" scandal, in which
former Pope Benedict's butler leaked the pontiff's personal papers
to the media.
The board said Gotti Tedeschi was fired because he was an
ineffective and divisive manager. He said he was ousted because he
wanted to introduce more transparency to the bank, which has been an
embarrassment for the Vatican for decades.
Gotti Tedeschi had been under investigation by Rome magistrates on
suspicion of money laundering, but last month a judge ruled that the
case against him be shelved.
In a detailed, five-page statement, Gotti Tedeschi's lawyers said
the judge's written decision proved that he was a capable manager
who acted in the best interests of the bank and encouraged him to
take legal action to clear his name.
One of the lawyers, Fabio Marzio Palazzo, told Reuters that Gotti
Tedeschi had not yet decided whether to seek financial damages from
the board or be satisfied with a judicial sentence clearing his
"The important thing is that he be vindicated, but we are still
evaluating everything," he said.
Palazzo said his client might also take legal action against some
Italian media for defamation.
Gotti Tedeschi himself told Reuters: "They have to say they're sorry
and finally explain after two years why they did what they did. My
lawyers will evaluate the rest".
"This ruined my life. It's a shame that it was the Italian
magistrates who had to clear this up and not the Church," he said.
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The board members who voted no confidence in Gotti Tedeschi are
still serving at the bank, which is formally known as the Institute
for Works of Religion (IOR).
They are Carl Anderson, the American head of international charity
group Knights of Columbus, Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz, a former top
executive at Deutsche Bank, Manuel Soto Serrano of Banco Santander
and Antonio Maria Marocco, an Italian notary.
A spokesman said the IOR had no comment.
Gotti Tedeschi had been suspected of money laundering along with the
IOR's then director general, Paolo Cipriani, and its then deputy
director, Massimo Tulli. The case against them is continuing and
they are expected to stand trial.
The investigation led to the freezing in 2010 of 23 million euros
($31.6 million) of IOR funds in Italian banks.
In the past year under the leadership of von Freyberg, the IOR has
closed hundreds of accounts, instituted strict anti-money laundering
regulations and launched several investigations into suspicious
Pope Francis has appointed a commission to advise him on what to do
about the bank. Early in his papacy, he did not exclude closing it
altogether but Vatican officials have said recently that that is no
($1 = 0.7271 euros)
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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