Vatican Denies Liability in Frankel Related Lawsuit

May 16, 2002

A Vatican spokesman has denied that the Catholic Church was in any way liable for the actions of Monsignor Emilio Colagiovanni, a former priest, who’s been charged with helping Martin Frankel bilk more than $200 million from insurance companies in five Southern states.

The Vatican was named as a defendant by the insurance commissioners of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, who charge that Colagiovanni and other Vatican officials acted as agents for Frankel, thus exposing their “employer,” the Catholic Church, to liabilities arising from their conduct in aiding Frankel’s fraudulent schemes.

Frankel has just agreed to enter a guilt plea to the federal charges pending against him in Connecticut (See IJ Website -National).

According to a report from the Associated Press Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls stated that Colagiovanni was a retired priest no longer holding any Vatican office at the time of the alleged scheme and was acting “as a private Italian citizen.” Navarro-Valls reiterated that the Vatican neither received funds from the foundations nor furnished any. He said the Holy See has given the information it has to the attorney general of Mississippi.

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