Former President of Vatican Bank to Stand Trial

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A former president of the Vatican bank will stand trial for defrauding the institution of millions of euros becoming the highest ranking official in the Holy See to be prosecuted for financial crimes.

The bank, officially known as the IOR (Institute for Works of Religion), announced in a statement that the ex-president and his lawyer will be tried for embezzlement and money laundering. The damages are estimated in excess of €50 million.

Proceedings against Angelo Caloia, 78, who led the IOR for twenty years from 1989 to 2009, and his former legal counsel Gabriele Liuzzo, 94, will start in a Vatican court on 15 March. Both deny wrongdoing. A third individual, the bank’s former general director Lelio Scaletto, is also accused of being part of the alleged unlawful conduct but is now deceased.

The trial is a significant step forward in the Pope Francis’s clean up of Vatican finances with prosecutions for criminal behaviour a key litmus test of whether reforms are being implemented.

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