Vatican bank writes off Cardinal Bertone's $20 million investment

Two years ago, the Vatican bank invested 15 million euros [US $20 million] in an Italian television company that makes family movies, including films about popes and a series about a bike-riding country priest who helps police solve crimes.

The Vatican's then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone ordered the investment in Lux Vide SpA, which he said shares the Holy See's "lofty goal of evangelisation". Bertone, who was the second-in-command to former Pope Benedict, pushed the deal through despite objections from the bank's director and board members, who thought the expense was too big and not justified for the bank, according to current and former bank executives.

Last month, the Vatican booked a loss for the entire amount spent, as part of a wider review of Vatican finances that has also led to the closure of hundreds of accounts at the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR by its Italian acronym, as the bank is called.

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