Pope Francis’s bid to take the scandal-dogged Vatican bank in hand has stepped up a gear, experts said on Tuesday, with the ousting of top management from the institution following the launch of a special papal probe.

Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli, director and deputy director of the bank respectively, handed in their resignations on Monday “in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See”.

The bank’s president, Ernst von Freyberg, put their decision down to a need for “new leadership to increase the pace” of bringing the institution “in line with international standards against money laundering”.

Religious and judicial specialists on Tuesday said the Vatican had forcibly shed two long-serving chiefs who survived the unceremonious eviction in May 2012 of the former head, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, purportedly for poor management but amid reports of money-laundering.

Dirty money

The two are reported to have close ties to cleric Nunzio Scarano, who worked for years as a senior Vatican accountant, and was arrested on Friday on suspicion of plotting to smuggle €20 million of dirty money from Switzerland. — AFP