Vatican Bank Denies Claims its Doing Business with Russia

Vatican City’s commercial bank denied Saturday that it holds deposits and lends money to the Russian state. The charge was leveled by a senior advisor to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who accused the Vatican’s Bank of harboring Russian funds, despite international sanctions.

The Institute for Works of Religion “does not receive or invest Russian money,” the bank said in a Sept. 9 statement, after Mychajlo Podoljak, a senior advisor to the Ukrainian president, alleged in a television interview that Russian money was influencing Pope Francis’ attempts to broker peace after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Podoljak made the allegations in a Sept. 8 interview with the Ukrainian news broadcaster Kanal 24.

In the same interview, Podoljak criticized Pope Francis’ peace efforts, and said that the pope’s statements and gestures about the war have been perceived as sympathetic to Russia.

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