ROME, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Italian authorities said they have seized $17 million and are investigating two top Vatican bankers for alleged money laundering.
The Bank of Italy first raised the questions involving two attempted fund transfers involving funds held at the bank Credito Artigiano on behalf of the Vatican's bank, the Institute for Religious Works, The Financial Times reported Tuesday.
Authorities are investigating Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, formerly the head of operations at Bank Santander, and Paolo Cipriani, the director general at the Vatican bank.
Owners of the Credito Artigiano, the Credito Valtellinese, had no comment on the investigation, but the Vatican said it was confident Tedeschi, who is also a professor of finance ethics, would be exonerated.
Concern was raised, however, when the Vatican's bank attempted to transfer the funds to JPMorgan Frankfurt and Banca Del Fucino.