For Immediate Release
May 19, 2002
Vatican Lawsuit Liability exceeds $1 billion in USA Courts
The Vatican, which has long claimed immunity to lawsuits, is now facing claimants seeking more than $1 billion.
Insurance commissioners from Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Okalahoma, and Arkansas have joined Holocaust victims and victims of pedophile priests in filing lawsuits against the Vatican and Vatican Bank. The Insurance commissioners are seeking over $600 million in a RICO (Anti Racketeering) lawsuit that has named several top Cardinals including two former Papal Nuncios to the United States and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano, as co-conspirators with convicted financier Martin Frankel in an unsuccessful attempt to launder an incredible $150 billion in insurance assets.
Frankel who has plead guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and a forfeiture charge has been cooperating with the government in retrieving $200 million in missing insurance assets. Frankel faces 150 years in prison and will be sentenced next year.
Vatican officials allegedly received pay offs from Frankel and his associates in exchange for use of a Vatican operated charity as money laundering conduit. A Vatican monsignor, Colagiavanni, who also is facing racketeering charges, assisted Frankel in taking over unsuspecting insurance companies. Cardinal Laghi, former Vatican Nuncio to the USA, received $100,000 from Frankel. The Vatican Bank, which is controlled by Cardinal Sodano, issued a key letter of credit that Frankel used in his insurance schemes.
The Vaticans legal problems in the US first arose in November 1999 when California attorneys Tom Easton and Jonathan Levy filed a class action lawsuit seeking return of gold and funds looted from Yugoslavia during WWII and laundered by the Vatican bank post war. The wartime treasure is valued at several hundreds of millions. Earlier this year sexual abuse victims in the US sued the Vatican and now the insurance commissioners are seeking restitution and penalties of over $600 million. All the lawsuits are pending.
According to co-counsel in the WWII case, Jonathan Levy, all the cases have an excellent chance of beating Vatican immunity defenses: The Vatican used up its goodwill long ago, it has violated too many international laws and laundered too much money for anyone to believe its wholesale denials anymore. They stand to lose more than a billion dollars due to a lifestyle of crime and corruption by their top officials.
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