ROME — Italian prosecutors contest claims by the Vatican bank that it is trying to comply with international rules to fight money laundering, saying an investigation that led to the seizure of €23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account shows "exactly the opposite," according to a court document obtained by The Associated Press.
An Italian court on Wednesday rejected a Vatican request to lift the seizure, leading the Vatican to express "astonishment" at the court's ruling and indicating the case will not be cleared up quickly, as the Vatican originally predicted.
Since the money was ordered seized last month, the Vatican and the bank's chairman, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, have repeatedly said the allegations resulted from a "misunderstanding" and that the Vatican bank — officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion — has been working to comply with international rules to fight money-laundering.
The strongly worded document from the prosecutors' office — obtained Friday — said that while there is a "generic and stated will" to conform by the bank "there is no sign that the institutions of the Catholic church are moving in that direction." It said the prosecutor's investigation had found "exactly the opposite."