New Vatican Economic Secretariat has Power to Act on Vatican Bank Claims.
VATICAN CITY – An appeal by Holocaust survivors and their heirs from former Yugoslavia and Ukraine has been sent to Cardinal-Prefect George Pell.
Cardinal Pell was recently appointed by Pope Francis to head up the new Vatican Secretariat of the Economy with unprecedented power over secretive Vatican finances including the troublesome Vatican Bank.
Since 1999 the Holocaust survivors have been requesting the scandal plagued Vatican Bank audit accounts alleged to contain Holocaust era assets looted from the Balkans and Ukraine. About 30 current and former Vatican Bank accounts have been identified as suspect including accounts controlled by the Franciscan Order and various Dioceses.
The appeal also includes declassified documents from the US National Archives requested in 2000 but only produced 12 years later which establish both the British and Americans were certain the Vatican was harboring a major Nazi war criminal, Ante Pavelic, the brutal ruler of World War Two era Croatia. Pavelic was the source of the Ustasha Treasury which consisted of funds looted from Serbs, Jews, Roma, and Ukrainians during the genocide of over 500,000 people in wartime Yugoslavia.
Dr. Jonathan Levy, who is the attorney for several thousand claimants, Holocaust victims, their heirs, and organizations, has repeatedly criticized the Vatican and other financial authorities for the impunity granted the Vatican Bank. According to Dr. Levy: “The Vatican Bank has refused all requests for an accounting. The European Union Commission, European Central Bank, Vatican Financial Authority, MONEYVAL, and the US Courts have all entertained our requests but ultimately declined them due to lack of jurisdiction over the Vatican Bank.”
Dr. Levy also noted that his firm’s investigations and ensuing litigation which commenced in 1998 has uncovered a Vatican Bank connection to looted assets from other countries including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.
Cardinal George Pell was recently appointed by Pope Francis to head a new financial structure to coordinate and oversee the finances of the Holy See and Vatican City State. The Holy See Press Office has stated Pell’s new organization has the express power: “To conduct audits of any agency of the Holy See and Vatican City State at any time.”
According to Dr. Levy, this would include the Vatican Bank and perhaps is the good news the Holocaust survivors and their families have been waiting for since 1998.
Cardinal Pell has been viewed as an advocate for interfaith reconciliation.
The majority of the claimants to the Ustasha Treasury are Orthodox Christian Serbs and Roma who were shut out of the major Holocaust monetary settlements.