The Vatican said it was "perplexed and surprised" by the investigation.
Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank's director general and its chairman under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy's anti-laundering laws, news reports said. The investigation is not the first trouble for the bank — formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker, dubbed "God's Banker" because of his close ties to the Vatican, being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
“This corruption is continuing on a regular basis in the Vatican,” claimed Janathan Levy, a lawyer familiar with the bank. “Again, there's no reason for a religion to have a bank that does worldwide commercial activities, dealing in gold, dealing in insurance, dealing in property and then hiding behind the Roman Catholic Church," Levy pointed out.