- Marcinkus always proclaimed he had nothing
to do with the scandal, but was still sought by Italian authorities for
questioning at the time of his death.
- Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the head of
the Vatican bank before a massive banking scandal forced him out in 1989,
has died of natural causes, a spokeswoman for the Phoenix Catholic Diocese
- After being dismissed from his important
Vatican responsibilities, Marcinkus, 81, retired to Phoenix, but remained
active in the Church, limiting his activities to saying Mass and other
- Marcinkus was found dead at his Sun City
home, a suburb of Phoenix, on Monday evening, said Mary Jo West, a spokeswoman
for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
- No further evidence or information was
available regarding his death, according to diocese officials.
- Marcinkus, who was 6 feet, 4 inches,
had once acted as a bodyguard to Pope John Paul II during his early foreign
travels before taking on the responsibilities as head of the Vatican bank.
- Formally known as the Institute for Religious
Works, Marcinkus headed the Vatican Bank for 20 years, but was removed
when he became an intergral figure in the Italian investigation into the
- In 1987, warrants for the arrest of Marcinkus
and two lay Vatican bank officials were issued in after Italian prosecutors
charged them with being accessories to the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco
Ambrosiano, Italy's largest private bank, which collapsed in 1982 with
the disappearance of $1.3 billion *.* * * ** The missing money, never recovered,
was in loans made to 10 dummy companies in Latin America controlled by
the Vatican bank.
- * *
- Italy's Constitutional Court in 1982
ruled that a Vatican-Italian treaty precluded any interference by Italian
authorities in the affairs of the Vatican, an independent city-state.
- The case was never brought to trial,
the Vatican settling out of court with Italian authorities for $241 million.
Throughout the entire scandal and up until his death, Marcinkus insisted
on his innocence.
- At the time of his death, Rome prosecutors
were still hoping to question Marcinkus, but he has been kept under protection
in Phoenix, Arizona, still being under Vatican diplomatic immunity.
- Marcinkus was also linked to the unsolved
murder of Roberto Calvi, the former head of Banco Ambrosiano involved in
the scandal, as the Vatican insisted Calvi pay back over $154 million in
stolen Vtican money.
- But the links to those involved in the
scandal never were fully explored as investigators were refused permission
to ever investigate Marcinkus.
- Sources close to Vatican claim that Marcinkus
taken to America to keep quiet since he was actually only an "innocent
fall guy" for the real culprits pulling the strings behind the scandal.
- Those sources close to Vatican contend
the Black Pope and the Jesuit Order "in full control of P2 and the
Grand Orient Lodges, used Calvi and Michele Sindona, another accomplice
also thought murdered, to steal the money, then in Mafia-like fashion had
both of them killed.
- "Archbishop Marcinkus, being publicly
responsible for the loss of the funds of Banco Ambrosiano, then agreed
to take the fall, subsequently protecting his Jesuit masters from further
investigation," said a source close to the Vatican who wished to remain
- "It is Jesuit Bishop Hnilica, the
untouchable, who is really at the bottom of the scandal and fronting for
the Black Pope. I believe Marcinkus was a patsy and that Hnilica is the
real culprit and thus the Black Pope."
- Sources close to Marcinkus also claim
that "all along" he was innocent of any serious wrong doing,
including having absolutely nothing to do with Calvi's murder or embezzlement
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