Italian and Catholic media, quoting press releases issued by the Holy See, have identified Italian contractor Angelo Proietti as the first individual to be convicted and sentenced for money laundering since the Vatican adopted AML/CFT legislation in 2010. Proietti, who reportedly performed construction work upon several Vatican City offices, was sentenced on December 17 to two and one-half years for using the Institute for Works of Religion (APSA), the Vatican Bank, to hide millions of dollars that belonged to his remodeling firm, which was involved in bankruptcy in Italy at the time.
Apparently, the announcement of the case was delayed until the Christmas holidays, when many are busy with the festivities, and not paying attention to news reports. The Vatican's AML laws only apply to actual residents, or to money laundering crimes that occur within the City's small jurisdiction, which may have accounted for the fact that there had not been a previous conviction for eight years after the laws were enacted.
The defendant's accounts, which contain more than €1m, were ordered to be seized and forfeited. He was previously placed under House Arrest (home confinement) by Italian law enforcement, after the discovery of bankruptcy fraud. Accounts at the Institute are now restricted to Vatican employees or retirees or accredited diplomats, as well as official Catholic organizations and religious orders. Prior to these restrictions, APSA account holders were linked to a number of money laundering investigations, conducted by law enforcement agencies abroad.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant