VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A former president of the Vatican bank and his attorney are set to go on trial at the Vatican March 15 on embezzling and money-laundering charges.

The bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, alleges that the former officials’ “illegal conduct” led to damages to the bank in excess of 50 million euros (about $61.5 million today), according to a press statement from the institute.

The two officials, along with a former general director who has since died, have been under investigation since 2014 for activities carried out between 2001 and 2008, the statement said.


According to the Reuters news agency, the former president and his legal counsel are respectively Angelo Caloia, 78, who was president of the IOR from 1989 to 2009, and lawyer Gabriele Liuzzo, 94. The initial investigations also involved the former general director, Lelio Scaletti, who died several years ago.

Reuters reported in December 2014 that the Vatican’s top prosecutor, Gian Piero Milano, had frozen millions of dollars in accounts held by the three men.

They were suspected of embezzling money while managing the sale of 29 buildings held by the Institute for the Works of Religion. The buyers of the properties were mainly Italian, Reuters said, after reviewing a copy of the order freezing the accounts.

In the order, Milano alleged that in the institute’s official books the three men under-represented the proceeds from the real estate sales. The men allegedly received, usually in cash, the difference between the real sale prices and the amount officially recorded, Reuters reported.