ROME – The home of the recently ousted president of the Vatican bank was searched Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation into Italy’s state-controlled aerospace and engineering giant Finmeccanica, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor Francesco Greco told The Associated Press that the search had nothing to do with Ettore Gotti Tedeschi’s role as head of the Vatican bank and that he is not under investigation in the Finmeccanica probe. He declined to provide details of why Gotti Tedeschi’s home was searched.
Prosecutors for months have been investigating allegations that Finmeccanica officials created a slush fund to funnel money to political parties. Finmeccanica’s ex-chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini is under investigation for making false invoices and tax fraud, while his wife Marina Grossi, the CEO of Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex, is under investigation for creating false invoices and corruption. Both have denied wrongdoing.
The probe centers on accusations that Selex set up a system of false invoices created to evade taxes and used the proceeds to set up a €2-million ($2.7-million) slush fund to pay off political go-betweens. The alleged corruption revolved around contracts for Italy’s air traffic controller body, ENAV.
Gotti Tedeschi is a well-connected Italian financier and head of the Italian branch of Spain’s Banco Santander.
In an unprecedented move May 24, the board of the Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, ousted him in a no-confidence vote, saying he failed to do his job. On Saturday, the Vatican spokesman confirmed that the five cardinals who control the bank had ratified the board’s decision and worked out a payment to Gotti Tedeschi.
Gotti Tedeschi hasn’t responded in detail to the accusations contained in a scathing denunciation by the board of its reasons for ousting him, saying he doesn’t want to upset the pope. Among the board’s allegations is that he failed to keep the board informed of the bank’s activities, failed to show up at board meetings and failed to explain how documents in his possession were disseminated.
Emails seeking comment from him haven’t been returned.