Sex, Fraud, Money Laundering: All Roads lead to Rome

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Attorneys in the Vatican Bank lawsuit (Alperin v. Vatican Bank) seeking restitution of Nazi loot laundered through the Vatican Bank after World War II have asked the United States District Court in San Francisco to coordinate all pending lawsuits against the Vatican.

June 28, 2002

Sex, Fraud, Money Laundering: All Roads lead to Rome

Attorneys in the Vatican Bank lawsuit (Alperin v. Vatican Bank) seeking restitution of Nazi loot laundered through the Vatican Bank after World War II have asked the United States District Court in San Francisco to coordinate all pending lawsuits against the Vatican. This includes another WWII era lawsuit against the Vatican Bank, three sex abuse cases filed in Missouri, Oregon, and Florida alleging a Vatican cover up of pedophile priests and a $600 million dollar RICO (Anti Racketeering) lawsuit filed by five state insurance commissioners for insurance fraud aided and abetted by top Vatican officials in conspiracy with convicted swindler, Martin Frankel.

According to plaintiffs’ attorneys Jonathan Levy and Tom Easton, the threshold issue in all these cases is whether the Vatican, which is the world’s smallest country, can continue to hide behind sovereign immunity for criminal acts committed by its financiers and officials. Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that permits the Vatican to avoid civil lawsuits in the United States. Easton and Levy expect the US State Department will sooner or later weigh in on the issue of Vatican immunity and when it does, it makes more sense that all the cases are coordinated.

Furthermore according to the attorneys, the RICO lawsuit involves issues of fact, which contradict pleadings already on file in the Vatican Bank cases. In the Vatican Bank cases, the Vatican Bank’s Italian attorney asserted the bank’s “fundamental purpose is to promote pious acts.” On the other hand the RICO lawsuit filed by the state insurance commissioners alleges top Vatican officials including the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano, were involved in a massive insurance fraud and money-laundering scheme with Martin Frankel utilizing the Vatican Bank and the Vatican itself as a front for their illegal activities.

“Americans have not yet put together all the pieces, ” said Levy, “they need to know the Vatican is being used as a haven for crooks, pedophiles, and financial corruption. By combining these cases temporarily and forcing the issue of Vatican immunity we are actually helping the honest clergy who are trying to clean up an appalling situation.”

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