​Vatican bank multiplies net profit 24 times

The tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican (Reuters / Tony Gentile)

The tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican (Reuters / Tony Gentile)

The Vatican’s Institute for Religious Works (IOR), notorious for its money laundering and tax evasion, announced a €69.3-million profit in 2014, 24 times bigger than in 2013. Officials credit that to clearing up the bank’s finances.

“The long-term,
strategic plan of the Institute revolves around two key
objectives: putting the interests of the clients first by
offering appropriate and improved services and by de-risking the
activities of the Institute,”
said Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, IOR
chairman since July 2014.

The bank launched a financial clean-up program in 2013 after
longstanding accusations of violations, including money
laundering and tax evasion.

In that program IOR closed more than 4,500 non-church related
accounts, tightened up regulatory standards and focused on
improving returns for its customers.

READ MORE: Holy reveal: Vatican bank publishes annual report for
the first time

The IOR will donate €55
million of their profits to the Holy See for the Vatican’s main
budget. The remaining €14.3 million will be contributed to the
IOR’s retained earnings reserve.

The bank works differently from all other financial institutions
in the world. The IOR’s workforce is little more than 100 people,
mostly Italians. Supervisory functions are performed by the

About 50 percent of the bank’s clients are various Catholic
organizations. Another 14 percent comes from Holy See
institutions, 9 percent are cardinals, bishops and priests, while
others are members of the Catholic community.

About 25 percent of the IOR’s operations comprise cash
transactions, enough to suspect the bank of money laundering.

READ MORE: Two men caught with $4.1tn worth of
fake bonds at Vatican Bank

In September 2010, the
Italian financial police seized €23 million worth of Credito
Artigiano bank accounts, belonging to IOR, and arrested IOR
President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. He was subsequently sacked from
his post in May 2012.

In 2013, a former Vatican accountant Monsignor Nunzio Scarano was
accused of illegally transferring money from Switzerland through
the IOR.

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