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Vatican’s Investment Funds Were Vehicles for Italian Bank Fraud

Two investment funds used by Vatican dicasteries were also used by a major Italian bank to conceal illegal investments for which the bank was eventually closed.

On Friday, Maltese media reported that the IOR, or Vatican Bank, is being sued in turn by Optimum for breach of contract; the firm claims the Vatican’s bank owes an additional 24 million euros as an already agreed-upon investment in one of its funds. The IOR has itself sued Optimum Asset Management; trying to recover millions it invested in an Optimum fund alleged to have lost 230 million euros.

Optimum was in 2015 identified by Italian authorities as a fund manager through which Banca Popolare di Vincenza fraudulently funneled money meant for outside investments back into investment in the bank itself.

While the bank was required by European law to maintain a diversified investment portfolio as a hedge against risk, it was found to have used Optimum to fraudulently invest in itself instead, leaving the accounts and investments of customers at a high degree of risk.

Read more at Catholic News Agency