February 9, 2012

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

Summary

- HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE REJECTS UNFOUNDED CLAIMS ABOUT THE IOR AND THE AIF

- PRESENTATION OF LOGO FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2013

- AUDIENCES

- COMMUNIQUE ON CLAIMS IN AN ITALIAN TELEVISION PROGRAMME ABOUT THE IOR AND THE AIF

 

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE REJECTS UNFOUNDED CLAIMS ABOUT THE IOR AND THE AIF

Vatican City, (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has issued a communique rejecting claims made in an article entitled "Money Laundering: Four Priests under Investigation. The Silence of the Vatican" which appeared yesterday in the Italian newspaper "L'Unita". Extracts from the communique are given below.

"The article ... unfortunately reveals a considerable lack of serious research by the author.

"We must begin by making two introductory observations. The title of the article refers to silence on the part of the Vatican. ... This is completely groundless because the Holy See and the authorities of the Vatican have duly cooperated with magistrates and other Italian authorities. The claims made in the article are merely a reworking of past criticisms. ... They are, in fact, 'recycled' accusations which the same journalist has already published on a number of occasions in the past. Repeating them once again does not make them true; rather, we must ask ourselves whether the article was not intended as a kind of advertisement for an evening television show.

"As to the contents of the article, we must clarify the following".

"The principal accusation is that the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) has been involved in illegal activity and that is has failed to assist the Italian authorities who were pursuing these individuals" (the alleged money launderers).

"This is incorrect. Firstly, the article fails to report that, beginning in the years 2006-2007, the IOR has been determinedly committed to analysing accounts and verifying clients in order to ascertain and report the presence of any suspicious transactions. These efforts by the IOR (which, strangely, the media seem to ignore) to identify suspect operations pre-date by several years the adoption by Vatican City State, on 30 December 2010, of Law No. 127 to Counter Money Laundering.

"Moreover, as the Italian authorities are aware, and as emerges from documentation in the possession of officials both of the Holy See and of the Republic of Italy, the IOR has repeatedly cooperated with the Italian authorities at all levels. ... The IOR supplied information, even outside official channels, in the period preceding the establishment of the Vatican Financial Information Authority (AIF). The cooperation of Paolo Cipriani, director general of the IOR, has been described as 'punctual and complete' in documents written by Italian officials. Indeed, in one case, it was precisely rapid action on the part of Mr. Cipriani that enabled one of the individuals identified to be accused".

"Following consultation with the AIF, we can confirm the following:

"(1) It is not true that the IOR failed to provide information to the AIF on the issues in question.

"(2) It is not true that the AIF failed to forward this information to the Italian Financial Information Unit.

"(3) The Italian authorities have never made a request to the AIF regarding one of the individuals mentioned in the article, Msgr. Messina; therefore it is clearly impossible for the AIF to 'respond' to its Italian counterpart.

"These points regarding communication between the AIF and its Italian counterpart are all confirmed by documents held by the AIF, identified with specific protocol numbers.

"Furthermore, the article does not report that on 6 June 2011 one of the individuals mentioned therein - Fr. Bonaccorsi - was declared innocent, a sentence confirmed on appeal.

"The sadly defamatory effect of the article arises from the use of the term 'incriminated' to refer to Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the IOR, and to Paolo Cipriani. Neither of them has ever been incriminated, but merely investigated".

 

PRESENTATION OF LOGO FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2013

Vatican City, (VIS) - The logo for World Youth Day 2013 has been revealed in the John Paul II Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. WYD 2013 will be held in that Brazilian city next year.

Vatican Radio has announced that the logo, work of a young Brazilian artist Gustavo Huguenin, portrays a heart (symbol of youth) in the colours of the national flag (green and yellow). At the centre of the heart is the silhouette of the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. At the top is a cross, in recollection of the fact that the core of WYD is Christ Himself.

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Tanzania.

- Eighteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Francis Eugene George O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Francis J. Kane, George J. Rassas, Andrew Peter Wypych and Alberto Rojas.

- Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville.

- Bishop Robert Daniel Conlon of Joliet in Illinois, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, and by Bishop emeritus Joseph Leopold Imesch.

- Bishop Daniel Robert Jenky C.S.C. of Peoria.

- Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois.

- Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary of Indianapolis.

- Bishop Charles C. Thompson of Evansville, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger.

- Bishop Kevin Carl Rhoades of Fort Wayne - South Bend, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Michael D'Arcy.

- Bishop Dale Joseph Melczek of Gary.

- Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana.

 

COMMUNIQUE ON CLAIMS IN AN ITALIAN TELEVISION PROGRAMME ABOUT THE IOR AND THE AIF

Vatican City, (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique issued early this afternoon by the Holy See Press Office.

"The television programme, 'Gli intoccabili', transmitted yesterday evening by Italy's 'La7' television network, included unfounded claims and false information about the Institute for the Works of Religion and(IOR) and the Vatican Financial Information Authority.

"On this subject, and with reference to the declaration issued by the Holy See Press Office yesterday 8 February, the following points must be made:

"(1) The affirmation that the IOR is a bank is incorrect. The IOR is a foundation in both civil and canon law, regulated by its own statutes. It does not hold reserves or grant loans as a bank does. Even less so is it an 'offshore bank', and the aforementioned television programme used that term not to illustrate the true nature and function of the IOR but to create an impression of illegality. The IOR lies within a sovereign jurisdiction and operates on the basis of a framework of norms and rules which include the Vatican's anti-money laundering legislation: Law No. 127, adopted precisely in order to conform to international standards.

"(2) The insinuation that Vatican norms do not allow for investigations or criminal procedures regarding the period prior to the coming into force of Law No. 127 on 1 April 2011, is untrue.

"The discussion during the aforesaid programme referred to words contained in a 'private memo'. That document has no official value and merely reflects the opinions of the individual who wrote it. Moreover, it does not state that investigations or criminal procedures regarding the period prior to 1 April 2011 are impossible, or suggest that the IOR is unwilling to collaborate in investigations or criminal procedures on events prior to 1 April 2011. As regards cooperation between the IOR and the AIF, the IOR has cooperated in providing information on transactions that took place before that date.

"Therefore, the claims made during the programme are untrue. According to Vatican anti-money laundering norms, the Vatican judicial authorities have the power to investigate suspect transactions that took place during the period prior to 1 April 2011, also in the framework of international cooperation with judges in other States, including Italy.

"(3) Relations between the IOR and non-Italian banks have always been active and, contrary to the claims made, activity with Italian banks has been reduced only to a limited extent. The IOR, like Italian financial institutions, uses the services of foreign banks (Italian and non-Italian) when they are more efficient or cost less. Moreover, all movements in cash are certified with customs documents. As standard practice, all movements of money are regularly traced and archived.

"(4) As regards the norm regulating the movement of money in cash, it must be made clear that the IOR monitors, and has monitored, step transactions for a total of euro 15,000 in ten consecutive days. Furthermore, article 28 paragraph 1(b) of the new text of Law No. 127, modified by Decree of the President of the Governorate on 26 January 2012, states that the parties subject to that Law (including the IOR) must honour 'their obligation of adequate monitoring ... when they carry out occasional transactions the value of which is equal to or more than euro 15,000, irrespective of whether they are carried out in a single transaction or with a number of interconnected transactions'.

"(5) The affirmation made by the magistrate, Luca Tescaroli, according to which the Vatican failed to respond to rogatory letters concerning the case of the Banco Ambrosiano and Roberto Calvi, is untrue. On this subject, it must be made clear that there is no record of the rogatory letter of 2002 having reached the Vatican. Nor, following a preliminary search in the archives, is there any record of the international rogatory letter presented by the Tribunal of Rome in 2002 ever having reached the Italian embassy to the Holy See. The other two rogatory letters received a regular reply, addressed to the Italian embassy to the Holy See. As yesterday's declaration said, the Holy See and the Vatican authorities have duly cooperated with magistrates and other Italian authorities, and this is evident from documentation in the possession of officials both of the Holy See and of the Republic of Italy.

"The facts described above show that the presentation given in the aforementioned programme was biased and does not contribute to forming an objective picture of events".

 

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