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Vatican ex-banker in fear for his life: reports

08 june 2012, 12:19
Head of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. ©REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Head of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. ©REUTERS/Tony Gentile
The former head of the Vatican bank, fearing for his life, has put together an archive of compromising information on senior Italian and Vatican figures, AFP reports citing Italian media.

Among those mentioned in the archive were "senior clergymen, shady intermediaries and influential Italian politicians," Corriere della Sera reported.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi "has hired private bodyguards and contacted a private investigation agency for protection," the Il Fatto Quotidiano daily said.

The report said Gotti Tedeschi had given copies of his archive to trusted friends, telling them: "If I am killed, the reason for my death is in here."

The archive made up of hundreds of pages, was reportedly seized by prosecutors during raids on Gotti Tedeschi's home and office on Tuesday, as part of a separate inquiry into alleged bribery at defence giant Finmeccanica.

The ex-banker is already under investigation on allegations of money laundering of 23 million euros ($29 million) through the Vatican bank.

He was questioned on Tuesday and Wednesday and is said to be assisting prosecutors.

"I'm afraid for my life," Corriere della Sera daily quoted him as telling prosecutors.

When he saw plainclothes officers approach his house on Tuesday, Gotti Tedeschi thought they were killers, La Stampa daily reported this week.

Corriere della Sera reported that the archive contained documents "on the management of numerous current accounts through which money of dubious provenance transited."

Gotti Tedeschi was appointed in 2009 and sacked on May 24 by the board of the bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works or IOR, after a long-running dispute with the Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.

A powerful and divisive figure in the Holy See, Bertone is one of the main targets in a series of leaks of confidential documents from the Vatican in recent months.

Those leaks have led to the arrest of Pope Benedict XVI's butler.

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