Photo of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

An investigation is underway into potential violations of money laundering regulations by the Vatican Bank, according to the Bank of Italy.

The investigation was undertaken after an Italian bank brought the transactions to the attention of the Bank of Italy. The two transactions the bank participated in gave the appearance of non-compliance with anti-money laundering requirements the bank was under.

According to the Bank of Italy, upon reporting the suspicious transactions to the legal authorities, they were informed that there was already an investigation underway into the Vatican Bank by judicial authorities.

The Vatican expressed its trust in Ettore Tedeschi, head of the bank, in leading the investigation, and shared its confusion by the actions of the prosecutor in the case.

Because it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the amount of money in control of the Vatican Bank, it is considered the most secret bank of all those in the world, according to expert Jeffrey Robinson.

What spawned the investigation was two wire transfers the Vatican Bank initiated. The transactions were for amounts of $26 million and $4 million, but the bank did not supply the necessary information about the transfers. This caused a suspension of the transactions, and led to the investigation.

Since the Vatican Bank is considered its own entity and does not operate within the European Union, it is required to supply much more detailed information on transactions than other banks.