As scandal surrounding the Vatican Bank grows and grows, Der Spiegel looks back at the its recent history of extreme sketchiness:
Whereas Benedict XVI and his predecessors have preached humility and ethical financial dealings from the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, his confidants working directly beneath the papal windows have continued to pursue shady financial transactions.
The Vatican has yet to divulge the business practices its bank has been using for decades. “There is fear that, owing to the transparency necessary today, one will find something in the past that one doesn’t want to,” says Marco Politi, a Rome-based Vatican expert.
Such things could include a complex system of ghost accounts and shell companies like the bank had when Archbishop Paul Casimir Marcinkus was its head in the 1980s. At the time, the bank did business involving foreign currency and weapons with the Milanese banker Robert Calvi and the mafia financier Michele Sidona — and helped launder illegal proceeds the mafia earned from drug-trafficking as well as bribes paid to Christian-conservative Italian politicians.