Vatican banker’s documents seized: Holy See’s sovereign status threatened

The Holy See, a sovereign state, has hit back at Italian authorities for taking documents intended for the Pope, during a raid on the home of ousted Vatican Bank chief, Ettore Gottti Tedeschi.

Calling for Italy to respect the law of an independent state, the Vatican says it expects Italian authorities to respect the Vatican’s status in any proceedings concerning Gotti Tedeschi.

Italian paramilitary police raided Mr Gotti Tedeschi’s Piacenza home on Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation into Italy’s state-controlled aerospace giant Finmeccanica.

He was not under investigation, and at the time of the raid, prosecutors said the search had nothing to do with Mr Gotti Tedeschi’s recently terminated role as president of the Vatican bank.

The Independent reports claims that the former head of the Vatican Bank had a secret dossier of information about how the Vatican worked, and he was holding onto it to defend himself against allegations of mismanagement at the bank.

Gotti Tedeschi also gave copies of the documents to his closes friends reportedly telling them, “If I am killed, the reason for my death is here. I’ve seen things in the Vatican that would frighten anyone,” reported the Independent.

One of the documents is reportedly titled “Internal enemies” and contains names of senior clergy and powerful Italian politicians.

Gotti Tedeschi’s Attorney Fabio Palazzo stressed Thursday that the documents were seized and that Gotti Tedeschi didn’t hand them over voluntarily.

The seizure poses potentially thorny legal issues, since Gotti Tedeschi was until recently an official of a sovereign state – the Vatican – and as such enjoys some immunity in Italy.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Holy See was aware of the seizure but was waiting to clarify what Holy See-related documents were taken. Only after such an analysis would the Vatican consider any possible action, he said.

In what the Vatican called and unrelated event, on May 24 Gotti Tedeschi was sacked as head of the Vatican Bank, a day after the Pope’s butler was arrested for stealing the Pope’s private papers.


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