10 June, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI talks to the former head of the Vatican bank
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
The former head of the Vatican Bank has become the Papacy’s Enemy
Number One, after police discovered a trove of documents
exposing financial misdeeds in the Holy See.
The banker now reportedly fears for his
Earlier this week police conducted a dawn raid on the house and
office of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Investigators say they were
looking for evidence in a graft case against defense and aerospace
Finmeccanica, which was formerly
run by a close friend of Gotti Tedeschi.
Instead, as it turns out, police stumbled upon an entirely different
They discovered 47 binders containing private communication exposing
the opaque inner workings of the secretive Holy See. They included
financial documents, details of money transfers and confidential
internal reports - all prepared by Gotti Tedeschi to build a
convincing expose of corruption in the Vatican.
A renowned economics professor and head of the Italian branch of the
giant Bank of Santander Gotti Tedeschi took what turned out to be a
poisoned chalice of a job in 2009, when he became the President of
the Institute for Works of Religion, the formal name for the Bank of
His brief was formidable - to introduce
transparency to a lucrative enterprise that had become a byword for
money-laundering and corruption.
After a tumultuous three years marked by in-fighting and public
scandals, Gotti Tedeschi was unanimously dismissed from his post by
a board of Vatican officials in May.
“I have paid for my transparency”
the indignant banker said to the media, as he stormed off even
before his dismissal hearing was over.
The confidential minutes of the stormy
meeting obtained by Reuters showed the banker accused of,
"progressively erratic personal
behavior" and "exhibiting lack of prudence and accuracy in
comments regarding the Institute".
But there may have been other reasons.
Aware that his crusade against corruption was failing, Gotti
Tedeschi probably began to leak important documents to the media.
The drip-drip of damaging revelations (alongside more personal ones
presumably passed onto the media by the Pope’s own butler)
and has captivated Italy in recent months.
At the hearing, the board that dismissed the banker also indirectly
accused Gotti Tedeschi of being behind some of the leaks, pointing
"Failure to provide any formal
explanation for the dissemination of documents last known to be
in the president's possession."
While the leaks were a weapon with which
to attack his enemies, Gotti Tedeschi was also preparing a last
resort option if the battle was lost - a ‘suicide belt’ that would
blow the lid off Vatican.
Several months ago, he reportedly told his friends that he began
collecting an exhaustive dossier “in case something happened to
It is this dossier that the police have now apparently discovered.
The Vatican is barely concealing its panic - and wants the folders
handed back unopened.
“We have faith that the prosecutors
and Italian judicial system will respect our sovereignty -
recognized internationally - with regard to these documents,”
said an official statement.
But there is little chance the Papacy
will get its way this time.
Italian prosecutors have frequently been at loggerheads with the
Vatican and have accused it of using its sovereignty as a shield
against proper regulation.
If the documents do spark a legal firestorm, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
is sure to be a key witness in any trial. A former employee against
his employers, and a conservative Catholic pitched against the
Allegedly, Gotti Tedeschi keeps a list of personal enemies in the
Vatican - people who he had felt would stop at nothing to prevent
him from reforming the Institute for Works of Religion.
His friends have told the media he is
shaken and scared.
Police are now considering putting the whistle-blowing banker under