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 Institute for Works of Religion (Vatican Bank)

The Institute for Works of Religion (Italian: Istituto per le Opere di Religione – IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank, is a privately held institute located inside Vatican City and run by a CEO who reports directly to a committee of cardinals, and ultimately to the Pope (or the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church during a sede vacante). Since its assets are not considered property of the Holy See, it is not overseen by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and it is listed in the Annuario Pontificio not under "Holy See" or "Vatican City State", but after the pages on religious institutes, and cultural institutes, and placed with charitable foundations such as the John Paul Foundation for the Sahel. The bank's most recent President, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was removed from his post by the board of directors in May 2012, for dereliction of duty.


The Institute was involved in a major political and financial scandal in the 1980s, concerning the 1982 $4.7 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, of which it was a major shareholder. The head of IOR from 1971 to 1989, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, was under consideration for indictment in 1982 in Italy as an accessory of the bankruptcy; however, he was never brought to trial due to the Italian courts' ruling that the priest, being a high-ranking prelate of the Vatican, had diplomatic immunity from prosecution. As a private organization performing banking-like functions for religious institutions, it is not subject to public scrutiny. It nonetheless, presented a short presentation on its operations in 2012, apparently in response to recent criticism.

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