Bank director Paolo Cipriani and deputy-director Massimo Tulli resigned today amid a Vatican bank scandal that has already led to the arrest of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano.
Scarano was arrested last week after he was accused of smuggling more than 20 million euros from Italy to Switzerland. According to Reuters, Ernst von Freyberg, who became the president of the bank earlier this year, will take on the bank director role until a replacement is found.
The Vatican announced today that Cipriani and Tulli decided to resign because it was “in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See.”
Von Freyberg said that the resignation of Cipriani and Tulli was necessary to speed up the bank reform process.
Von Freyberg said: “While we are grateful for what has been achieved, it is clear today that we need new leadership to increase the pace of this transformation process,”
USA Today reports that Capriani was placed under investigation back in 2010 after he was accused of violating Italy’s money-laundering regulations. Police seized close to $30 million from the bank account during the investigation. Capriani was never charged with a crime, however, and the money was eventually released back to the Vatican.
Capriani avoided prosecution in 2010 but the Vatican bank has remained under scrutiny.
Pope Francis announced last week that he would be upping efforts to make sure that the bank was working in “harmony” with the Catholic Church. Francis commissioned an inquiry into the bank’s activities and the bank has already created a new position of chief risk officer.
The Vatican Bank, officially named the Institute for Religious Works, was created in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage the finances of the church.