• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Vatican bank appoints German head

The Local · 15 Feb 2013, 14:11

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."

Story continues below…

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
Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,682
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd