German Lawyer To Head Vatican Bank

A German pope may be vacating the Vatican but a German lawyer is about to head its bank, an institution some say is as important if not more, and whose shady dealing some say may have been the reason for the pope premature departure. Per Reuters, "The Vatican appointed German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg to be the new president of its bank on Friday, filling a post left vacant since May when the previous head was ousted from the scandal-tainted institution. The appointment was made by a commission of cardinals and approved by Pope Benedict and is likely to be one of his last major decisions before he resigns at the end of the month. The Vatican has been trying to shed a reputation for a lack of financial transparency at the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), but has been dogged by scandals for decades." And no, apparently he does not work for Goldman.


A Vatican statement said Freyberg brought "a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process." Born in 1958, he is on the advisory board of temporary employment agency Manpower GmbH and of asset management firm Flossbach von Storch AG.


In May, the board of the IOR unanimously passed a no confidence motion against then head Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, an Italian.


Like Gotti Tedeschi, the new bank chief is a devout Catholic.


The Vatican said some 40 people from around the world were considered for the post.


Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, in answer to a question at a news briefing, said Freyberg was not a personal friend of the pope's.

Von Freyberg's bio as reported by Bloomberg:

Mr. Ernst von Freyberg is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of DC Advisory Partners GmbH. Ernst von Freyberg worked for Three Cities Research, Inc., an investment company forming part of the Bemberg Group, in New York and London from 1988 to 1991, before co-founding DC Advisory Partners. He is a member of various supervisory boards including Deutsche Malteser gGmbH, Flossbach & von Storch AG and Magirus AG. Mr von Freyberg has qualified as a lawyer

And from Spiegel, google translated:

Freyberg, 54, is among other merger adviser, Lord of the Manor and Knight of the Sovereign Military Order. The consulting firm DC Advisory lists him as authorized to represent president . Freyberg lives according to Radio Vatican in Frankfurt, the Vatican, but assumes that the financial professional in the future will spend several days a week in Rome.


Freyberg to improve the reputation of the Vatican Bank. The Institute with the official name Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) is always find yourself back in the criticism . He is accused for a long time, not doing enough to combat money laundering. For years, urging the European and the national supervisory authority of the Pope, the bankers to apply the prescribed rules for all EU institutions also behind the Vatican walls.


Especially anonymous numbered accounts whose holders for credit transfers, check cashing and similar transactions are not identifiable are considered suspicious. In the past, should be third-world dictators and mafia trustee as corrupt politicians and rich tax evaders have used these accounts. Accurate you do not know - the Vatican leaves nobody look into their account books.


Pope Benedict XVI. had tried in the past four years to ensure transparency. He produced, among other things, a regulatory body set up to oversee the finances of the Institute. But the controls were found to apparently inadequate. Overseer of the European Council of the Vatican Bank attested two years ago with serious shortcomings in the monitoring of money laundering, tax fraud and the financing of terrorism, reported the TV channel Sky .


The Vatican Bank manages the TV station, according to Finance in the amount of about four billion euros and a total of some 33,400 accounts. The Principals had been vacant since May 2012. The former top executive Ettore Gotti Tedeschi had to go eight months ago. He resigned after a vote of no confidence by the Supervisory Board. Against Tedeschi run investigations on suspicion of money laundering . Interim chief Ronaldo Schmitz had commissioned an international recruitment agency with the search for a new manager, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

Keep an eye on this story: it will get much more interesting in the coming months.