Ex-Vatican bank head questioned on moneylaundering

MILAN, June 6 Thu Jun 7, 2012 12:10am IST

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MILAN, June 6 (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors questioned the former head of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, on Wednesday as part of an investigation into money laundering a day after searching his house and former office, judicial sources told Reuters.

In a search carried out following a request by Naples prosecutors investigating a separate case for alleged corruption into defence group Finmeccanica, the magistrates found documents related to the Vatican bank IOR.

"The examination of the material acquired yesterday found documents of investigative interest for Rome prosecutors," Alessandro Pennasilico, acting chief prosecutor in Naples, said.

IOR has been in the spotlight since 2010 when Italian investigators froze 23 million euros ($28.75 million) of its funds in Italian banks as part of an investigation into money laundering.

Gotti Tedeschi, a conservative Roman Catholic at the helm of IOR since 2009, was ousted dramatically last month by the bank's board, which said he had not properly carried out his functions.

The banker told Reuters he had been victimised for wanting to conduct the bank's affairs in a transparent fashion. Once the case erupted, he spoke to magistrates, although he is not officially under investigation. ($1 = 0.8001 euros) (Reporting By Lisa Jucca; Editing by Michael Roddy)