June 11, 2012
The former head of the Vatican Bank has become the Papacy’s Enemy Number One, after police discovered a trove of documents exposing financial misdeeds in the Holy See. The banker now reportedly fears for his life.
Earlier this week police conducted a dawn raid on the house and office of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Investigators say they were looking for evidence in a graft case against defense and aerospace firm Finmeccanica, which was formerly run by a close friend of Gotti Tedeschi.
Instead, as it turns out, police stumbled upon an entirely different find.
They discovered 47 binders containing private communication exposing the opaque inner workings of the secretive Holy See. They included financial documents, details of money transfers and confidential internal reports – all prepared by Gotti Tedeschi to build a convincing expose of corruption in the Vatican.
A renowned economics professor and head of the Italian branch of the giant Bank of Santander Gotti Tedeschi took what turned out to be a poisoned chalice of a job in 2009, when he became the President of the Institute for Works of Religion, the formal name for the Bank of Vatican. His brief was formidable – to introduce transparency to a lucrative enterprise that had become a byword for money-laundering and corruption.
After a tumultuous three years marked by in-fighting and public scandals, Gotti Tedeschi was unanimously dismissed from his post by a board of Vatican officials in May.
“I have paid for my transparency” the indignant banker said to the media, as he stormed off even before his dismissal hearing was over.