(Vatican) In the long and detailed farewell statement by the former President of the Vatican Bank IOR, Ernst von Freyberg, which was released on July 8 in advance of the expected change in leadership at the bank top, "not a few curiosities” were found, said the Vatican expert Sandro Magister.
The most striking thing is the "meager net profit" in the annual balance sheet of 2013. Only 2.9 million euro instead of the 86.6 million last year. As a reason for the slump, there are among others the decline of the gold reserves of the IOR (minus 11.5 million euros) and the poor performance of investment funds (minus 28.5 million). Ernst von Freyberg had also hinted what appear to be “favors” that the Vatican Bank has yet to answer for.
8.3 million for Consulting Firm Promontory
But then there are the costs for the staff of Promontory, the international financial consulting firm, which was established to review the banking institution, which could increase the expenditure side by 33 percent. In other words, the Promontory consultancy cost the Vatican Bank 8.3 million euros. The new Director General Roberto Marranci also comes from Promontory (November 2013). The eldest son of the new IOR-President, Jean-Baptiste Douville de Franssu works for Promontory. One could almost say Promontory advised and has “taken over” the Vatican bank.
Loan for Bishop of the Community of Sant'Egidio
In the statement by Ernst von Freyberg one also reads that 3.2 million euros were paid in “financial assistance to the Diocese of Terni". The payment is related to the financial collapse of the Umbrian diocese where Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia was as bishop there. Paglia, a leading representative of the Community of Sant'Egidio, is now President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The diocese had to be managed by a commissar and the Vatican Bank had to take over half of the more than 20 million euro debt.
Given Away 15 Million Shares to Film Production Company
"When would this not be enough," said Magister, appearing under the loss of the Vatican Bank and the free "transfer" of shares worth 15.1 million euros to a "Foundation of the Holy See". It is a stake of 17 percent of the film production company Lux Vide by Ettore Bernabei and Sons who were acquired by the IOR at a high price, but was then given away to a unspecified "foundation" of the Holy See. According to media reports, that are not denied, this is the foundation Scienza e Fede (science and faith), which is connected to the Papal Cultural Council, which is headed by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.
In winter 2011/2012, the then President of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, rejected the application for financial assistance from the Lux Vide. After his opaque resignation in autumn 2012, however, the application was approved.
The Minus of the Holy See
While the Vatican Bank is almost in the black, the Holy See ran in 2013 into the red. Although the Vatican Bank contributed 150 million euros to the Holy See, the first year of the pontificate of Pope Francis ended with a loss of 24.5 million euros.
This included the Peter's Pence for the 2013 of $ 78 million in donations for the Holy See, while last year with Pope Benedict XVI. it was only 65.9 million. The best result has been achieved in 2009 with 82.5 million. This was according to a statement by Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Cardinal Secretary of State on 28 June in an interview for the newspaper Avvenire.
Text: Settimo Cielo / Giuseppe Nardi
image: Settimo Cielo
image: Settimo Cielo
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