More Warrants Issued in Collapse of Banco Ambrosiano
MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Judges investigating Italy’s biggest banking scandal issued arrest warrants Tuesday for 25 former board members and officials of the collapsed Banco Ambrosiano, according to local news reports.
One of the Milan judges, who spoke under condition of anonymity, confirmed the expected action and said none of the accused had been taken into custody.
Some of the 25 charged with being ″accessories to fraudulent bankruptcy″ live abroad. Others who were handed the warrants in Italy will have to report to a police office once a week.
Italian laws allow such benefits for people ″not socially dangerous nor possible fugitives.″
But those benefits were not granted to Archbishop Paul C. Marcinkus, an American, and two other senior officials of the Vatican bank when they were named in arrest warrants issued by the same Milan judges in February.
Marcinkus and the two others, Luigi Mennini and Pellegrino De Strobel, live in the Vatican City, which has the status of a foreign state with no extradition treaty with Italy. None of them has been arrested.
Marcinkus, the chairman of the Institute for Religious Works, the formal title of the Vatican bank, and the other two officials also were charged as being accessories to fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, which had been Italy’s largest private bank.
Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in 1982 following the failed payment of $1.3 billion in loans made by the bank to 10 Latin American companies, which the judges claim were phony firms controlled by the Vatican bank.
Those named in the warrants issued Tuesday included Italian financier Orazio Bagnaco; Roberto Rosone, an aide to Roberto Calvi, the chairman of Banco Ambrosiano whose body was found hanging from a London bridge in June 1982, two months before the bank collapsed; Milan lawyer Giuseppe Prisco; Venetian industrialist Mario Valeri Manera, and Carlo von Casterlberg, a Swiss citizen who is president of a Zurich-based finance company, Ultrafin A.G.
Ultrafin was controlled by Banco Ambrosiano, and the Vatican bank was a major shareholder in Banco Ambrosiano.
The judge said the courts would seek to extradite von Casterlberg.
Those charged as being accessories to fraudulent bankruptcy were members of the board of officials of Banco Ambrosiano when bank documents allegedly were forged and diversions of bank funds decided, according to the judges.
The Vatican has long rejected responsibility for the bankruptcy. In 1984 it paid $250 million as part of the final settlement of the Ambrosiano case, but said it was not an admission of responsibility.