The Vatican is being besieged by daily leaks of money laundering at the Vatican bank, corruption in the awarding of Vatican contracts, confidential documents and reports of financial mismanagement and political infighting.
In June, a European commission will decide whether the Holy See has abided by tough international anti-money laundering and anti-terror finance laws given its reputation as a scandal-plagued, secrecy-obsessed tax haven.
Roberto Calvi, the banker who managed the Vatican's investments was found hanging from London's Blackfriars Bridge in 1982.
Calvi headed the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982 after the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans made to dummy companies in Latin America. The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans.
Murder charges were filed against five people, including a major Mafia figure, but all were acquitted.
While denying wrongdoing, the Vatican Bank paid $250 million to Ambrosiano's creditors.
The case remains unresolved.
A federal judge in Mississippi dismissed with prejudice a fraud and racketeering lawsuit against the Holy See filed in 2002 by the insurance commissioners of five southern states alleging Vatican involvement in jailed financier Martin Frankel's scheme to buy and loot insurance companies of some $200 million.