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Money laundering scandal rocks Vatican Bank

http://www.sott.net

Mon, 13 Dec 2010 19:23 CST
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vatican bank

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Vatican City – This is no ordinary bank: The ATMs are in Latin. Priests use a private entrance. A life-size portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall.

Nevertheless, the Institute for Religious Works is a bank, and it’s under harsh new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize euro23 million ($30 million) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.

The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital.” The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia.

The documents pinpoint two transactions that have not been reported: one in 2009 involving the use of a false name, and another in 2010 in which the Vatican Bank withdrew euro650,000 ($860,000) from an Italian bank account but ignored bank requests to disclose where the money was headed.

The new allegations of financial impropriety could not come at a worse time for the Vatican, already hit by revelations that it sheltered pedophile priests. The corruption probe has given new hope to Holocaust survivors who tried unsuccessfully to sue in the United States, alleging that Nazi loot was stored in the Vatican Bank.

Yet the scandal is hardly the first for the centuries-old bank. In 1986, a Vatican financial adviser died after drinking cyanide-laced coffee in prison. Another was found dangling from a rope under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982, his pockets stuffed with money and stones. The incidents blackened the bank’s reputation, raised suspicions of ties with the Mafia, and cost the Vatican hundreds of millions of dollars in legal clashes with Italian authorities.

On Sept. 21, financial police seized assets from a Vatican Bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano SpA. Investigators said the Vatican had failed to furnish information on the origin or destination of the funds as required by Italian law.

The bulk of the money, euro20 million ($26 million), was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino.

Prosecutors alleged the Vatican ignored regulations that foreign banks must communicate to Italian financial authorities where their money has come from. All banks have declined to comment.

In another case, financial police in Sicily said in late October that they uncovered money laundering involving the use of a Vatican Bank account by a priest in Rome whose uncle was convicted of Mafia association.

Authorities say some euro250,000 euros, illegally obtained from the regional government of Sicily for a fish breeding company, was sent to the priest by his father as a “charitable donation,” then sent back to Sicily from a Vatican Bank account using a series of home banking operations to make it difficult to trace.

The prosecutors’ office stated in court papers last month that while the bank has expressed a “generic and stated will” to conform to international standards, “there is no sign that the institutions of the Catholic church are moving in that direction.” It said its investigation had found “exactly the opposite.”

Legal waters are murky because of the Vatican’s special status as an independent state within Italy. This time, Italian investigators were able to move against the Vatican Bank because the Bank of Italy classifies it as a foreign financial institution operating in Italy. However, in one of the 1980s scandals, prosecutors could not arrest then-bank head Paul Marcinkus, an American archbishop, because Italy’s highest court ruled he had immunity.

Marcinkus, who died in 2006 and always proclaimed his innocence, was the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s character Archbishop Gilday in “Godfather III.”

The Vatican has pledged to comply with EU financial standards and create a watchdog authority. Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of “Vatican SpA,” a 2009 book outlining the bank’s shady dealings, said it’s possible the Vatican is serious about coming clean, but he isn’t optimistic.

“I don’t trust them,” he said. “After the previous big scandals, they said ‘we’ll change’ and they didn’t. It’s happened too many times.”

He said the structure and culture of the institution is such that powerful account-holders can exert pressure on management, and some managers are simply resistant to change.

The list of account-holders is secret, though bank officials say there are some 40,000-45,000 among religious congregations, clergy, Vatican officials and lay people with Vatican connections.

The bank chairman is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, also chairman of Banco Santander’s Italian operations, who was brought in last year to bring the Vatican Bank in line with Italian and international regulations. Gotti Tedeschi has been on a very public speaking tour extolling the benefits of a morality-based financial system.

“He went to sell the new image … not knowing that inside, the same things were still happening,” Nuzzi said. “They continued to do these transfers without the names, not necessarily in bad faith, but out of habit.”

It doesn’t help that Gotti Tedeschi himself and the bank’s No. 2 official, Paolo Cipriani, are under investigation for alleged violations of money-laundering laws. They were both questioned by Rome prosecutors on Sept. 30, although no charges have been filed.

In his testimony, Gotti Tedeschi said he knew next to nothing about the bank’s day-to-day operations, noting that he had been on the job less than a year and only works at the bank two full days a week.

According to the prosecutors’ interrogation transcripts obtained by AP, Gotti Tedeschi deflected most questions about the suspect transactions to Cipriani. Cipriani in turn said that when the Holy See transferred money without identifying the sender, it was the Vatican’s own money, not a client’s.

Gotti Tedeschi declined a request for an interview but said by e-mail that he questioned the motivations of prosecutors. In a speech in October, he described a wider plot against the church, decrying “personal attacks on the pope, the facts linked to pedophilia (that) still continue now with the issues that have seen myself involved.”

As the Vatican proclaims its innocence, the courts are holding firm. An Italian court has rejected a Vatican appeal to lift the order to seize assets.

The Vatican Bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage assets destined for religious or charitable works. The bank, located in the tower of Niccolo V, is not open to the public, but people who use it described the layout to the AP.

Top prelates have a special entrance manned by security guards. There are about 100 staffers, 10 bank windows, a basement vault for safe deposit boxes, and ATMs that open in Latin but can be accessed in modern languages. In another concession to modern times, the bank recently began issuing credit cards.

In the scandals two decades ago, Sicilian financier Michele Sindona was appointed by the pope to manage the Vatican’s foreign investments. He also brought in Roberto Calvi, a Catholic banker in northern Italy.

Sindona’s banking empire collapsed in the mid-1970s and his links to the mob were exposed, sending him to prison and his eventual death from poisoned coffee. Calvi then inherited his role.

Calvi headed the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982 after the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans made to dummy companies in Latin America. The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans.

Calvi was found a short time later hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge, his pockets loaded with 11 pounds of bricks and $11,700 in various currencies. After an initial ruling of suicide, murder charges were filed against five people, including a major Mafia figure, but all were acquitted after trial.

While denying wrongdoing, the Vatican Bank paid $250 million to Ambrosiano’s creditors.

Both the Calvi and Sindona cases remain unsolved.

Source: Associated Press

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RMS Titanic vs 9/11 ! (Filed under “Conspiracy Theories”)

WHO SUNK THE TITANIC?

http://www.world-mysteries.com

by Doug Yurchey

The above title does not read: What sunk the Titanic? It says: Who? The information below appeared inside my Outlook Express e-mailbox. The following is stunning and inspired me to write. When we think of great mysteries, controversies, conspiracies or historical questions…many come to mind:

* Who really murdered JFK?
* Who was really behind 9-11?
* Did a greater conspiracy surround the Oklahoma Bombing?
* Was Marilyn Monroe killed?
* Did aliens crash at Roswell?

Another historical mystery or puzzle is: What was the real story behind the sinking of the Titanic? The book ‘The Secret Terrorists’ printed by Truth Triumphant Ministries and reprinted by Tree of Life Resources places blame squarely on the Roman Catholic Order known as the Jesuits. ‘The greatest tragedies in the last 200 years can be traced to the Jesuits.’

Founded in 1540, the Society of Jesus grew rapidly within the Catholic Church. They were confessors to the ruling families of Europe. They defend the Pope and Catholicism around the world in nearly every country. In 1773, Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits. In 1814, Pope Pius VII responded to pressure and restored the Society. There are Jesuit colleges and ministries today. They are a very influential organization. Jesuits are dedicated to furthering Catholicism and the power of the Pope. Yet…there is a secret, negative side to this organization called ‘the Society of Jesus.’ For hundreds of years they carried out religious killings. They were the men in dark cloaks who carried daggers. (Were they the religious CIA for their time?)

In 1910, seven men met on Jekyll Island just off the coast of Georgia to plan the Federal Reserve Bank. Nelson Aldrich and Frank Valderclip represented the Rockefeller financial empire. Henry Davidson, Charles Norton and Benjamin Strong represented J.P. Morgan. Paul Warberg represented the Rothschilds Banking dynasty of Europe. The Rothschilds were the banking agents for the Jesuits and hold ‘the key to the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church.’

The Morgan gang, the Rothschilds gang and the Rockefeller gang were fierce competitors yet entered joint ventures. They established the national banking cartel called the Federal Reserve System….according to G. Edward Griffin in ‘The Creature From Jekyll Island (American Opinion Publishing P. 209). A review of this book stated: ‘It tells a story of how bankers have lured politicians with easy money and end up in control of most of the world.’

[This writer travelled to Jekyll Island in 1970 with his college tennis team. I had such a beautiful moment there one night: I was alone and drawn to a lighthouse. There stood deer in the darkness drinking from a pond. In the moonlight, it was a sight I’d never forget. Little did I realize that this wonderful, winter-resort for the rich had an evil history. Jekyll Island was properly named].

The Rothschilds, Morgans and Rockefellers are controlled by the Jesuit Order. The most powerful of families ‘do whatever is necessary to destroy constitutional liberty in America and bring the Pope to world domination.’ Construction of the Titanic began in 1909; at a shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. Belfast was Protestant and hated by the Jesuits. Morgan took control of the White Star Lines. The Jesuits ordered J.P. Morgan to build the Titanic. From the very beginning of the luxury liner, the Titanic was destined for doom.

There were a number of powerful men who were NOT in favor of the Federal Reserve System. Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss and John Jacob Astor opposed the formation of a F.R.S. These men were arguably the richest men in the world and stood in the way of the Jesuits’ plan. ‘These three men were coaxed and encouraged to board the floating palace.’ Not only were these enemies of the Jesuits against a Federal Reserve Bank, but they would have used their wealth and influence to oppose World War I.

This was the ‘maiden’ voyage of the greatest ship ever built. The ‘unsinkable’ campaign assured passengers of comfortable safety. Many Irish, French and Italian Catholics were on board. Protestants from Belfast were also encouraged to immigrate to the United States on the Titanic. These were ‘expendable’ people; for the most part. But, the real reason for the ship’s destruction was a game between the super rich whereby Guggenheim-Strauss-Astor could be eliminated. ‘They had to be destroyed by a means so preposterous that no one would suspect they were murdered, and no one would suspect the Jesuits.’

The Captain of the Titanic was Edward Smith. He was a Jesuit and worked for J.P. Morgan. Anyone could be a Jesuit and their identity not be known. >From National Geographic ‘The Secrets of the Titanic,’ (1986):

When the ship departed southern England, on board was Francis Browne. He was the most powerful Jesuit in all of Ireland and the ‘Jesuit Master of Edward Smith.’ ‘Here is Jesuit treachery at its finest. The provincial Father Francis Browne boards the Titanic, photographs the victims, most assuredly briefs the Captain concerning his oath as a Jesuit, and the following morning bids him farewell…’ Eric J. Phelps, Vatican Assassins Halcon Unified Services. P. 247.

Captain Smith believed this high-ranking ‘Jesuit General’ was God. Browne instructed him on what to do in the North Atlantic waters. ‘Edward Smith was given orders to sink the Titanic and that’s exactly what he did.’ According to Jesuit secret philosophy: The innocent can be massacred for the greater good; the ends justifies the means.

Captain Smith had been traveling the North Atlantic for 26 years. He was the ‘world’s most experienced master’ in these cold waters. The Captain knew all along that his ship was built for the enemies of the Jesuits. Its purpose was always to be a ‘deathship’ and sink on its first voyage. Captain Smith also knew exactly where the icebergs were. Under secret orders, he propelled the Titanic full speed at 22 knots on a moonless night and through a huge ice field 80 square miles in area! He had been ‘given orders from his God in the Vatican, and nothing would turn him from his course.’

Captain Smith’s actions in his last hours were not those of a strong leader. He seemed as if he was wrestling with his conscience. Should he be the brave sea captain or obey his master and sink the ship?

There were purposely not enough lifeboats. Many of the lifeboats only had a few passengers of women and children during the emergency. White distress flares were jettisoned. Passing ships thought those aboard the Titanic were having a party. The distress flares should have been red. These examples were not because of an arrogant crew who believed the Titanic was unsinkable. These shortcomings were planned.

Those richest of men, who opposed the Federal Reserve System, were killed along with the middle and lower classes. John Jacob Astor’s wife was rescued. Molly Brown was also saved. The sinking of the Titanic was possibly the greatest disaster of the 20th Century outside of the World Wars. According to ‘The Secret Terrorists,’ the cause of this tragedy was the Jesuit Order of the Roman Catholic Church.

‘The unsinkable ship, the floating palace was created to be a tomb for the wealthy, who opposed the Federal Reserve System. On April 14th (the same date in history as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln) of 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and all opposition to the Federal Reserve was eliminated. In December of 1913, the Federal Reserve System came into being in the United States. Eight months later, the Jesuits had sufficient funding through the Federal Reserve Bank to begin World War I.’ Notice the F.R.S. was established soon after the disaster of the Titanic.

The rich have always created unnecessary wars where the poor have to fight and die. The pages of ‘The Secret Terrorists’ do not specifically name the Templars, Freemasons or Illuminati. But these Secret Societies are related and do control: The banks; the money system; the oil companies; corporations; governments; the politicians; the military; the police; the law and judicial system; the churches; the schools; the media, etc., etc…

The rich and powerful have always ruled the world. The elite make the news; they create the great, international events. William Randolph Hearst invented the news and printed his propaganda in his paper.

It was the rich that purposely crashed the Stock Market in 1929 and caused the suffering of the Great Depression. The super rich had a highly-profitable, financial day during the Crash. It was the lesser-rich, want-to-be investors who lost everything.

IT IS NOT INCONCEIVABLE THAT WE HAVE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT THE FAMOUS VOYAGE OF THE TITANIC BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST PERFECT CRIMES EVER COMMITTED!

Doug Yurchey

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RMS Titanic passenger list/Biography here

related :

CNN on the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic :

Titanic 100th cruises spark buzz, debate

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Vatican Bank ‘investigated over money-laundering’

http://www.bbc.co.uk

21 September 2010 Last updated at 16:49 GMT

The inquiry into Ettore Gotti Tedeschi has surprised the Vatican.

The head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, is under investigation as part of a money-laundering inquiry, police sources say.

Prosecutors also seized 23m euros ($30m; £19m) from the bank’s accounts with another smaller institution.

The inquiry was launched after two suspicious transactions were reported to tax police in Rome.

The Vatican said it was “perplexed and astonished”, and expressed full confidence in Mr Tedeschi.

The Vatican Bank, known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was created during World War II to administer accounts held by religious orders, cardinals, bishops and priests.

Police intervention

Rome magistrates are looking into claims that Mr Gotti Tedeschi and the bank’s chief executive Paolo Cipriani violated laws that require banks to disclose information on financial operations.

Continue reading the main story

Vatican Bank

  • Set up by Pope Pius XII in 1942
  • Based in Vatican City, has no other branches, operates as offshore institution outside EU rules
  • Headed by professional banker overseen by commission of cardinals
  • No shareholders, no policy-making functions
  • All profits set aside for charitable or religious works

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says the Bank of Italy’s financial intelligence unit tipped off Italy’s tax police last week, after two suspicious transactions were reported between the Vatican Bank and two different Italian banks.

The tax police seized 23m euros that the Vatican Bank had tried to transfer from a small Italian bank called Credito Artigianato.

Some 20m euros was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to another Italian bank, Banca del Fucino.

Reports say the Vatican Bank had failed to inform the financial authorities where the money had come from.

Past scandal

In a statement, the Vatican strongly defended its record.

“The Holy See is perplexed and astonished by the initiatives of the Rome prosecutors, considering the data necessary is already available at the Bank of Italy,” the statement said.

And the Vatican also gave its backing to the two officials under investigation.

“The Holy See wants to express the maximum confidence in the president and in the chief executive of the IOR,” it said.

Mr Gotti Tedeschi, who is an expert on financial ethics, has been in charge of the bank for a year. He was formerly head of Spanish bank Santander’s Italian operations.

The Vatican Bank was last mired in scandal in 1982 when its governor Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was indicted over his involvement with the collapse of what was then Italy’s largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano.

Although he was never arrested, the fallout from that scandal took a darker turn when two of its top executives, one of them its chairman, Roberto Calvi, were murdered.

Calvi, known as God’s Banker because of his close ties to the Vatican, was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London.

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