Vatican bank chasing millions of euros in Malta

The Vatican bank has started legal proceedings in Malta against those it holds responsible for the loss of millions of euros in an investment fund.

Maltese judge, Mr Justice Wenzu Mintoff, will preside over the case. His role will include deciding the bank’s total losses.

The Vatican statement says the losses are “significant.”

It also said the bank is taking the action against “the persons” in Malta to show its commitment to “any appropriate action to protect its financial and reputational interests”.

While the Vatican statement is guarded with names and details, various wildly different figures have emerged in the media.

The Daily Mail UK says according to a source close to the matter, the bank invested tens of millions of euros in funds in Malta and other countries in 2012 and 2013 when the bank was without a president.

(In May, 2012, the board of the bank ousted Italian Ettore Gotti Tedeschi by a no-confidence vote. It was not until February 2013 that German Ernst von Freyberg was appointed.)

A Vatican spokesman told the Times of Malta the issue dates back to the beginning of 2013 for investments initially worth €17 million.

The Malta Independent newspaper says Italian news reports state that the total losses suffered by the bank came to upwards of 230 million euros.

The Malta Independent also cites Italian news reports as identifying the investment vehicles as the “Ad Maiora” fund, where money was reportedly invested through Malta-based Futura Funds as well as two companies registered in Luxembourg and two “foreigners”.

Magistrates had already found the bank had been embroiled in many Italian financial and international scandals in previous decades, as it was used by outsiders in both Italy and the Vatican either to launder money or evade taxes.

The court case does not yet have a sitting date assigned to it.

Pope Francis, who has said he wants the Roman Catholic Church to be a model of austerity and honesty, has made financial reform a central plank of his papacy.

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News category: World.

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