French financier to head Vatican bank

The Vatican. (File) (Clive Brunskill, Getty Images)
The Vatican. (File) (Clive Brunskill, Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/09 9:10 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A French financier has been appointed as the new president of the Vatican's long-troubled bank.

As widely expected, the Vatican announced Wednesday that Jean-Baptiste de Franssu has been tapped to head the Institute of Religious Works, as the bank is formally called. De Franssu has been serving on a new Vatican economic council.

The outgoing president, German industrialist Ernst von Freyberg, worked to make the bank's transactions more compliant with international banking standards after Italian money-laundering and cash-smuggling probes stung the institution.

In an interview published in German newspaper Bild, von Freyberg declared: "The bank is now clean." Without elaborating, he said "dubious" investments resulted in costs of more than 45 million euros ($60 million).


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