Vatican hands down first money laundering sentence

General view of St.Peter's square in the Vatican City, May 17, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 27 December 2018
0

Vatican hands down first money laundering sentence

  • Proietti is on trial in Italy for bankruptcy fraud, and was accused of illegally siphoning money from his business to his Vatican account

VATICAN CITY: A Vatican court has ordered an Italian businessman jailed for money laundering, a first for the notoriously secret micro-state.
The court ordered Angelo Proietti, 63, jailed for two-and-a-half years, and seized more than a million euros ($1.14 million) that he deposited in an account at the IOR or Vatican bank.
The account has been frozen since the case began in 2014.
Proietti is on trial in Italy for bankruptcy fraud, and was accused of illegally siphoning money from his business to his Vatican account.
He is under house arrest and can appeal the sentence. He would not serve time in the Vatican itself but in an Italian prison as the Vatican only has holding cells.
“This is the first time that this crime has been prosecuted in Vatican jurisprudence,” the seat of the Roman Catholic Church said in a statement Thursday about the December 17 sentence.
The IOR has 15,000 clients, most of whom have connections with the Catholic Church, and manages around 5.7 billion euros in assets.
The Vatican’s bank made headlines following the 1982 death of Roberto Calvi, known as “God’s banker” because of his links to the Holy See, whose corpse was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
Prosecutors believe it was a mafia killing linked to money laundering via the bank.
That and other scandals prompted a clean-up in recent years, first under Pope Benedict XVI and then under the current pontiff Pope Francis, with about 5,000 bank accounts closed.


At least 10 dead as fire rages on Black Sea ships

Updated 22 January 2019
0

At least 10 dead as fire rages on Black Sea ships

  • Twelve people were rescued from the burning vessels but there was little hope of finding any more survivors
  • The strait connects both Russian and Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea to the Black Sea

MOSCOW: Ten crew died and another 10 were missing presumed dead in a fire that broke out on two ships while they were transferring fuel in the Black Sea, Russia’s Transport Ministry said on Tuesday.
The vessels which caught fire on Monday have the same names as two Tanzania-flagged ships, the Maestro and Venice, which last year were included on a US sanctions advisory as delivering fuel to Syria.
Twelve people were rescued from the burning vessels but there was little hope of finding any more survivors, a spokesman for the Transport Ministry’s maritime unit said. The focus had switched from a rescue operation to a search for bodies, he added.
The spokesman said the vessels, which had a combined crew of 32, were still on fire and rough no attempts were being made to put out the blaze because of rough sea conditions.
Russian maritime officials said on Monday that the vessels were carrying out a ship-to-ship transfer of fuel in the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from Russia.
On Nov. 20 last year, the US Treasury Department added nine Russian and Iranian individuals and companies on its sanctions list for participating in the shipment of petroleum to Syria.
It also issued an advisory note warning of the potential sanctions risk for any entities involved in such shipments which listed 35 ships, including the Maestro and Venice, as having delivered oil to Syria between 2016 and 2018.
Reuters reported in December that both the Maestro and Venice continued operations after the Treasury announcement, and regularly entered Crimea’s Temryuk port, according to Refinitiv data.
In the port, liquefied petroleum gas of Russian and Kazakh origin is transferred onto tankers for export, via the Kerch Strait.
The strait, between Russian-annexed Crimea and southern Russia, connects both Russian and Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea to the Black Sea.
In November, Russia detained three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews in the vicinity of the strait, fueling tensions between the two countries. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.