• Germany edition
 
Vatican bank appoints German head
Photo: DPA

Vatican bank appoints German head

Published: 15 Feb 2013 14:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Feb 2013 14:11 GMT+01:00

Ernst von Freyberg replaces Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was unceremoniously sacked by the board on May 24 last year a day after the pope's butler was arrested for leaking hundreds of confidential papers from the Vatican.

Vatican watchers say Gotti Tedeschi's ousting could have been linked to his drive to make the bank, the Institute for Religious Works, cooperate with an Italian money laundering inquiry but the circumstances remain mysterious.

Von Freyberg, a trained lawyer, is chairman of the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg in northern Germany and an active member of the Knights of Malta, a lay religious order founded in the Middle Ages.

From 1991 until 2012 he was chief executive of Frankfurt-based Daiwa Corporate Advisory, a consultancy mainly for financial institutions.

"This decision is the result of extensive evaluation and a series of interviews that the Commission of Cardinals has conducted, with the constant support of the Supervisory Board," the Vatican said in a statement.

"The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection," it said. The Vatican is trying to implement reforms to put it on an international "white list" of countries that comply with legislation to combat money laundering after a critical report from the Council of Europe last year.

"There is a clear willingness to proceed. The new president is absolutely aware of this," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters.

The report from Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering body in Strasbourg, scored unsatisfactory ratings for the Vatican in seven out of 16 "key recommendations" and satisfactory ratings in nine.

The report noted that the foundations for a more transparent financial system in the tiny Vatican state "are now formally in place," adding: "The Holy See has come a long way in a very short period of time."

"But further important issues still need addressing in order to demonstrate that a fully effective regime has been instituted in practice," it added.

In particular, the report "strongly recommended" that the Vatican's bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), "is independently supervised."

The bank is currently supervised by a committee of cardinals. The Vatican has since appointed Swiss lawyer Rene Bruelhart, who helped Liechtenstein shed its shady reputation, to be executive director at its Financial Information Authority (FIA), which Moneyval had criticised for light oversight.

The FIA is still headed up by Italian cardinal Attilio Nicora. The Vatican bank has a troubled history including in the 1970s and 1980s with the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano, where the Holy See was the main shareholder, which was accused of laundering money for the Sicilian mafia.

The chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, Roberto Calvi -- dubbed "God's Banker" in the press -- was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982 in a suspected murder by mobsters for which no-one has ever been convicted.

AFP/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:16 February 15, 2013 by Firmino
lol without money laundering and financing war criminals the Vatican would be out of business! This is a merely cosmetic move.
13:43 February 19, 2013 by ichbines
didn't you mean to say "he would help the secretive institution with money laundering"?
Today's headlines
Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel
Photo: DPA

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel

Around 160 car owners are stuck after a gas station's storage tanks were filled with the wrong fuel, causing an estimated €100,000 in damage. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights

UPDATE: In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force
Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the World Health Summit in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, the Ebola crisis took centre stage at talks meant to create plans for how to handle future outbreaks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,478
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd