Vatican Suit Dropped

A federal court in Mississippi on Feb. 2 dismissed a 10-year-old lawsuit accusing the Vatican of complicity in a scheme to bilk insurance companies for more than $200 million. The state insurance commissioners of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas had filed the lawsuit in 2002, charging the Vatican and Msgr. Emilio Colagiovanni of racketeering and fraud. The commissioners claimed that Monsignor Colagiovanni and the Holy See had aided financier Martin Frankel in purchasing small, ailing insurance companies, whose assets he then siphoned off, leaving them unable to pay claims. Jeffrey S. Lena, an attorney for the Holy See, said the dismissal “was not the result of any settlement agreement” and that the insurance commissioners had requested the court’s action “of their own accord.”

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