NEW YORK (
) -- The
said it was surprised by being targeted in a money-laundering investigation, according to a
"The authorities of the Holy See have frequently manifested a clear desire for full transparency regarding the financial operations of the
Institute for Works of Religion
," the Vatican told
in an emailed statement. The Institute is also known as the Vatican Bank.
Italian police have temporarily frozen funds from one of the bank's accounts amid a probe of bank Chairman Ettore Gotti Tedeschi,
stated, citing Italian media reports.
In addition to his role at Vatican Bank, Gotti Tedeschi is non-executive chairman of Santander Consumer Bank in Italy, a unit of Spain's
. He is also a professor of financial ethics at the Catholic University in Milan, according to published reports.
The freezing of the account follows a recommendation by Italy's central bank that lenders focus more attention on transactions in countries that have not agreed to abide by international tax standards.
, which is Italy's largest bank.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
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