The Vatican Rag 11

“The invariable response to market shocks that threatened the now infamous virtuous circle of a strong currency and the bull market was decisive market intervention by the Federal Reserve and US Treasury. For example:

– Market crises triggered by the Asian meltdown, the Russian default, the collapse of LTCM, and plummeting stock prices post the NASDAQ mania, were countered by injections of liquidity by the Federal Reserve along with high profile public statements of assurance to the markets.

– The cosmetics of low inflation were fortified by debasement of Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation measures through dubious hedonic price adjustments and false productivity measures.

– A flare up in the gold price caused by a short squeeze following the Washington Agreement in 1999 was doused by fresh liquidity solicited from Kuwait, the Vatican, and Singapore. As discussed later, these maneuvers included mobilization of US gold reserves.

– The attempt to bring down long-term rates by suspending issuance of 30-year treasuries is the most recent and clumsiest of notable anti-market actions.

– In the true spirit of globalization, the government of Italy manipulated its own bond market to hide the true size of its budget deficit in order to be admitted to the European single currency. In a report published by the International Securities Market Association (November, 01), a currency bond swap was completed in 1997 to mask the true size of the country’s internal deficit. The transaction was orchestrated by Long Term Capital Management, which counted the Italian Central Bank among its clients.”

“This newly unearthed evidence leads
Pollard to conclude that the 1930s witnessed a revolutionary moment in Vatican financial
history. As a result of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, the Holy See received a cash payment
of 750 million lire from the Mussolini government, thereby stabilizing papal finances.
Nogara used this money to pioneer a new investment strategy that involved building up
gold reserves, diversifying into property, experimenting with various forms of arbitrage,
cultivating close connections with Swiss banks, and investing heavily in Italian economic
enterprises. As a result, by the middle of the 1930s, the Vatican “was placed at the centre
of a world-wide network of banking, and other financial institutions” (p. 168), and its
traditional financial portfolio had been irrevocably altered.”

“The Vatican Bank was a successful and profitable bank. By the 1990s, the Bank had invested somewhere over US$10 billion in foreign companies. Part of what made the Bank so profitable was that it offered certain illegal services; for 5%, the Bank would launder industrialists’ money, or money of those well-connected with the Catholic Church. The money laundering scandal leaked out in 1968 due to a change in Italian financial regulations, which would have mandated more transparency. To prevent the scandal that would occur when the public learned that the Vatican Bank (which was supposed to funnel all profits directly and immediately to charity) had in fact retained most of its profits and expanded its operations, Pope Paul VI enlisted Michele Sindona as papal finance advisor to sell off assets and move money overseas to hide the full extent of Vatican wealth”

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