BY OUR ROME CORRESPONDENT
THE VENEZUELAN] businessman who told Italian police that the Vatican bank had been inadvertently embroiled in "one of the biggest cash laundering operations ever" was released from a Rome prison this week.
Alberto Jaimes Berti claimed to be the middleman in a $2.2 billion recycling operation involving at least one leading Vatican financial exponent.
He is believed to have been released from prison to allow him to travel to Switzerland to recover alleged proof of his declarations. The 50-year-old businessman claimed that receipts and other papers conserved all this time in a safety deposit box in a Geneva bank attest to the massive financial operation in the early 1980s.
According to Berti, the papers hold the key to the missing cash of the Vatican share holding, Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed with a fraudulent debt of $1.4 billion years ago.
Its chairman, Roberto Calvi, was found hanging dead under Blackftiats bridge in June 1982 after frantic attempts to prevent the potentially catastrophic crash of his bank.