The world's smallest city-state is in the news once again and, once again, hopes its ridiculously inappropriate Foreign-Sovereign Immunity (which absolves it of all responsibility for child sexual abuse cases in the United States, fyi) will allow it to do whatever it wants while thumbing its nose at the peculiar secular world, where actions have consequences.
VATICAN CITY — Italian authorities seized euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.But don't worry, it's probably all a big misunderstanding--it's not like the Vatican has any history of highly-suspicious involvement with the mafia and/or catastrophic financial crimes:
The Vatican bank was famously implicated in a scandal over the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s in one of Italy's largest fraud cases. Roberto Calvi, the head of Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982 in circumstances that still remain mysterious.
London investigators first ruled that Calvi committed suicide, but his family pressed for further investigation. Eventually murder charges were filed against five defendants, including a major Mafia figure, and they were tried in Rome and acquitted in 2007.
Banco Ambrosiano collapsed following the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans the bank had made to several dummy companies in Latin America. The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans. While denying any wrongdoing, the Vatican bank agreed to pay $250 million to Ambrosiano's creditors.Yikes! But soft--who runs the Vatican Bank? Its problems can most likely be blamed on greedy secular bankers operating outside the church's sphere of influence, right? The religious folk just made a few careless mistakes in who they hired to run their financial operations, right?
More after the jump...
Its leadership is composed of five cardinals, one of whom is the Vatican's secretary of state. But the day-to-day operations are headed by Gotti Tedeschi and the bank's oversight council.Double yikes! But don't worry--should anybody affiliated with the Vatican be charged in an actual crime, they will never have to go to prison or pay a fine or fail to live a life of unparalleled luxury within the walls of the world's most opulent palace, supported by donations from poor people across the globe.
The late Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, an American prelate who headed the Vatican bank at the time [during the 1980s crime spree], was charged as an accessory to fraudulent bankruptcy in the scandal.
He left a villa in Rome two hours before police arrived for the safety of the Vatican, an independent city-state. Italy's Constitutional Court eventually backed the Vatican in ruling that under Vatican-Italian treaties Marcinkus enjoyed immunity from Italian prosecution. Marcinkus long asserted his innocence and died in 2006.As for the current chairman of the Vatican Bank (and Opus Dei conservative freak), Ettore Gotti Tedeschi--it's probably only a coincidence he shares a name with notorious Gambino crime boss John Gotti, by the way--he is totally, 100% shocked and on the case.
Not only will Gotti most likely put all this bunk to rest in a few weeks when he reveals that all this fuss is simply the result of an unfortunate "accounting oversight that has been rectified," a la every American case of corporate criminal behavior, but he also has a perfect solution for materializing vast wealth out of thin air, without the aid of organized crime--it's called "applied ethics" and you should try it.
Come on--it's easy! Read and learn:
"It's not difficult to show that applied ethics produces more wealth," he wrote in a July piece for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. "Ethical behavior means lower costs – just thinking about control measures alone – and allows for more value thanks to transparency and trust, which alone produce more certainty and fewer risks."Well, okay, I'll be waiting for that brief-but-brilliant scholarly article to be published in the next issue of The Journal of Organized Crime and Bullshitting, Ettore--please don't let me down. I really want to be rich and kind and all-powerful like you and your humble Pope friends!
Stay tuned if you wanna be rich, folks. If not, please remember to send all your spare money to the Vatican--they really need your help right now, as they prepare to defend themselves against the forces of righteousness.