The former head of the Vatican bank compiled a secret dossier of compromising information about the Holy See because he feared for his life, it was claimed Thursday.
In the latest twist in a scandal that has convulsed the papacy, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi reportedly gave copies of the documents to his closest confidantes and told them: “If I am killed, the reason for my death is in here. I’ve seen things in the Vatican that would frighten anyone.”
One of the documents was reportedly titled “internal enemies” and contained the names of senior clergy and powerful Italian politicians.
Other emails and letters related to “money of dubious provenance” being allegedly funnelled through the Vatican bank, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Gotti Tedeschi, 67, was appointed in 2009 but fired May 24, the day after the Pope’s butler was arrested on suspicion of stealing confidential letters and leaking them to journalists.
He was allegedly ousted by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, in a dispute over efforts to improve the transparency of the scandal-idden bank.
Gotti Tedeschi appeared to have compiled the dossier to defend himself against charges of incompetence, mismanagement and possible money-laundering
Gotti Tedeschi was so fearful for his safety that he hired body-guards and sought advice from a private investigation agency, the Italian media reported.
The claims evoked memories of one of the Vatican’s darkest chapters – the mysterious death in 1982 of Roberto Calvi, nick-named “God’s Banker,” who was president of Italy’s largest private bank, the Banco Ambrosiano.
After the failure of the bank, which had close links to the Vatican, Calvi was found hanged from scaffolding beneath Black-friars Bridge in London, amid suspicions that he had been murdered by mafia godfathers as punishment for losing money they had invested.
“Gotti Tedeschi was nick-named ‘The Pope’s Banker’ and he feared meeting the same end as ‘God’s Banker,’ ” said news-paper Il Fatto Quotidiano.