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
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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.


British envoy denies Iran summons over tanker attacks claim

Updated 33 min 58 sec ago
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British envoy denies Iran summons over tanker attacks claim

  • “I asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Ministry yesterday and it was granted. No ‘summons’,” he said
  • Iran’s foreign ministry said the head of its European affairs Mahmoud Barimani met Macaire on Saturday

TEHRAN: Britain’s ambassador to Iran on Sunday denied he was summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry after London accused Tehran of “almost certainly” being responsible for tanker attacks in the Gulf.
“Interesting. And news to me,” ambassador Rob Macaire said in a tweet a day after the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the envoy over his government’s accusations.
“I asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Ministry yesterday and it was granted. No ‘summons’. Of course if formally summoned I would always respond, as would all Ambassadors,” Macaire wrote.
Iran’s foreign ministry said the head of its European affairs Mahmoud Barimani met Macaire on Saturday and “strongly protested against the unacceptable and anti-Iranian positions of the British government.”
On Friday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said London had concluded Iran was “almost certainly” responsible for Thursday’s tanker attacks.
He was echoing remarks by US President Donald Trump who said Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman had Iran “written all over it.”
Iran has denied any involvement in the twin attacks.
It dismissed Hunt’s accusations as “false” and chided London for its “blind and precipitous alignment” with US views, according to the foreign ministry.
The latest incident comes as ties between Tehran and London have been strained in recent months, namely over the fate of a British-Iranian mother jailed in Iran on sedition charges.
London has repeatedly called for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking their infant daughter to visit her family.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year sentence for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government, has begun a hunger strike in protest at her detention, her husband said on Saturday.
She previously went on hunger strike in January.
Richard Ratcliffe urged the Iranian authorities to immediately release his wife and to allow the British embassy to check on her health, and also asked they grant him a visa to visit her.
On Saturday he also stood outside Iran’s London embassy and said he would maintain his own hunger strike and vigil for as long as his wife refused food.