Statistical modelling. It goes everywhere.
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Sovereign deficit du jour (all figures in euros unless stated otherwise):
The consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2011 closed with a deficit of 14,890,034. The most significant items of expenditure were those relative to personnel (who as of 31 December 2011 numbered 2,832) and to the communications media considered as a whole. The result was affected by the negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget.
From our Lord and Saviour, via his earthly representative and the New York Times:
The Vatican called on Monday for an overhaul of the world’s financial systems, and once again proposed the establishment of a supranational authority to oversee the global economy, saying it was needed to bring more democratic and ethical principles to a marketplace run amok.
Erm, OK, not God. Not even the Pope — although an editorial in L’Osservatore Romano by the Pope’s banker comes close:
During a prolonged crisis, inheritance taxes, new forms of taxation or similar alternatives reduce or wipe out resources for investments, discouraging the trust of investors, penalizing the cost of the public debt and the possibilities of its renewal at its expiration. In this context, imposing taxes on property and on income is equivalent to a suicidal anti-subsidiarity of the state to the citizen. Those who legally possess assets, on which they have paid the proper taxes, have contributed to creating wealth and, thanks precisely to these assets, continue to produce them with investments and consumption. Read more
The Vatican responded to allegations of suspected money laundering against its top bankers saying on Wednesday there had been a “misunderstanding” over two disputed money transfers and that it was co-operating fully with Italian and international authorities, reports the FT. Italy’s finance police said on Tuesday they had frozen €23m ($31m) held by the Vatican’s bank, the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), in the Rome branch of bank Credito Artigiano. Magistrates have opened a formal money laundering investigation involving Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, chairman of IOR, and Paolo Cipriani, director-general.
Italy’s finance police have seized €23m held by the Vatican in an Italian bank and placed the Pope’s top two bankers under investigation for suspected money laundering, reports the FT. Police confirmed media reports that they had confiscated the funds held by the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) – the Vatican’s bank – in an account at Credito Artigiano, an Italian bank, after the Bank of Italy questioned two attempted transfers. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, former head of Bank Santander’s Italian operations and a professor of ethical finance, was appointed head of IOR a year ago. The second official being investigated is Paolo Cipriani, the bank’s director-general.
The head of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi has been placed under investigation by Rome magistrates for suspected money-laundering by the bank, judicial sources said on Tuesday. His office and the Vatican spokesman said they had no immediate comment…
Europe’s first Christian equity index was launched on Monday in response to increasing demand by investors for so-called ethical stocks in the wake of the financial crisis, the FT says. The Stoxx Europe Christian Index comprises 533 European companies that only derive revenues from sources approved “according to the values and principles of the Christian religion”.
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday condemned the “grave deviations and failures” of capitalism exposed by the financial crisis and issued a strong call for a “true world political authority” to oversee a return to ethics in the global economy, the FT reported. The pontiff’s call for stronger government regulation was made in his third and eagerly awaited encyclical, Charity in Truth, which the Vatican chose to issue on the eve of the G8 summit of rich nations being held in Italy.