• Germany's news in English
 

Vatican bank appoints German head

Published: 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
Unemployment at new post-unification low
Photo: DPA

Unemployment at new post-unification low

German unemployment fell in March to the lowest level since the country reunited in 1990 as growth in Europe's biggest economy continues to pick up, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'
A Trabant being converted into an E-car. Photo: DPA

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'

Its chuntering motor and belching exhaust once heralded the coming of the communist utopia. Now the east German 'Trabi' is leading a new revolution, and this time you won't hear it coming. READ  

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles
A German soldier aims a G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles

Update: Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch denied on Monday evening that the G36 rifles it supplied to the Bundeswehr (German army) lose their accuracy when they are too hot. READ  

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance
Chancellor Merkel speaking in Helsinki. Photo: DPA

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance

On a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel showed a patient side to the German government as the Eurozone continues to wait for a new list of economic reforms from Greece. READ  

Germany, France, Italy want Euro drones
An American Reaper drone. Photo: DPA

Germany, France, Italy want Euro drones

Germany, France and Italy plan to push forward with plans for a European-made military drone, the German government told MPs on Monday. READ  

Energy prices drive return to inflation
Photo: DPA

Energy prices drive return to inflation

Inflation in Germany crept higher in March, driven by rebounding energy prices, preliminary data showed on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee

Germany's national airline is reconsidering plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary on April 15th following last weak's deadly crash of a plane from subsidiary Germanwings in the French Alps. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies
Photo: DPA

Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies

A spokesman for prosecutors in Düsseldorf said on Monday that Germanwings flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies in the years before obtaining his pilot's license. READ  

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs
Photo: DPA

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs

Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt hopes to end mass shredding of male chicks in hatcheries in the next two years, he announced on Monday. READ  

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit
The site of the Germanwings crash in the French Alps. Photo: DPA

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit

A new police unit, which will go under the name “Alps”, includes 100 officers whose task it is to identify victims of the Germanwings crash and to investigate the background of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

7,039
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd