A Frenchman heads the “Vatican Bank”

Source: FSSPX News

The Frenchman Jean-Baptiste de Franssu replaced the German Ernst von Freyberg on July 9 as head of the IOR, the “Vatican Bank”.  During a joint press conference that was held at the Holy See the same day, each one emphasized the “continuity” between their mandates.  The –year-old French financier is charged with conducting “phase two” of the reform started in the spring of 2013 by the German industrialist.

During the mandate of Ernst von Freyberg, who took up his duties in February 2013, the approximately 19,000 initial accounts of the bank that were suspected of participating in money laundering, including Mafia funds, were sifted.  By late June only 15,495 accounts remained in the IOR, according to the German newspaper Die Zeit, as quoted by www.latribune.fr on July 9.  According to that same website, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu promised that only “ethical investments” will be able to pass through the IOR and that within the next 24 months he would examine how the bank’s assets are managed.

Before taking charge of his new duties, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu headed the Société Incipit, a consulting firm that offers strategic advice in the field of mergers and acquisitions, which he founded in Brussels.  He is also an independent administrator for Carmignac Gestion, one of the leading European asset management companies.

A practicing Catholic, married and father of four children, he is also administrator of the World Youth Alliance, an association that lobbies the United Nations, the European Parliament and governmental institutions in Africa and Asia to defend the family.

Together with Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, he was one of the two Frenchmen appointed by Pope Francis to the 15-member Council for the Economy on March 8.  He was previously a member of the commission created in July 2013 to analyze the administrative and financial structures of the Vatican.

When questioned by the French radio station Europe 1 on July 9, 2014, he declared that the objective of the IOR is “particularly to earn money, but it is not a commercial enterprise like any other;  it is an institute that exists to serve the Holy See.”  That same day, on the website of Vatican Radio, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu emphasized the specific characteristics of what some people “wrongly”, according to the new president, call the Vatican “bank”:  “I remind you that we at the IOR are not a bank.  People often say ‘bank’, but according to our statutes we are not a bank.”  The French financier pointed out that although the IOR did have to comply with international financial regulations, its final objective is above all to “be of service to the institutions of the Holy See which need to communicate and to conduct transactions with the outside world.  We need an institution equivalent to a bank that enables us to make these transactions.”

In that same interview, the new president recalled that it is important for the Vatican to have at its disposal a financial institution that shares its values and faith:  “All the products that we are going to develop in order to be of service, to respond to the expectations of our clients, will be centered around our faith, around the very strong values that assure the dioceses and the congregations that will come to us and entrust their money to us that everything done was done ‘in close communion’, if I may put it that way.”

(Sources:  apic/radio vatican/latribune.fr/lefigaro.fr – DICI no. 299 dated August 1, 2014)

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