Report 5 States Sue Vatican Over Frankel Losses

May 10, 2002

Today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal reports that five southern states have filed lawsuits against the Vatican as a result of the alleged involvement of several officials of the Catholic Church in the fraudulent activities of renegade financier Martin Frankel.

Frankel’s, who’s awaiting trial in Connecticut on a series of charges of insurance fraud, estimated to exceed $200 million, allegedly used a former Vatican Judge, Msgr. Emilio Colagiovanni, who’s also facing charges, as an intermediary in his schemes to funnel huge amounts of money to the charitable trusts he created.

The lawsuits, filed by the insurance commissioners of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, 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.

The WSJ noted, however, that the Vatican “has government status,” and that suits against foreign governments are frequently prohibited by treaties between the U.S. and foreign governments.

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