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Saturday , February 16 , 2013
 
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Military ties of Vatican bank chief

Vatican City, Feb. 15 (Reuters): The Vatican appointed a German lawyer to head its bank today, but the bid to turn the fortunes of the scandal-hit institution was clouded by his business links to a military shipbuilder.

As chairman of the Institute for Works of Religion , Ernst von Freyberg will head efforts to improve the image of the Vatican’s bank which is under investigation for money laundering .

But within minutes of announcing his appointment, the Vatican faced a new public relations challenge when asked to explain Freyberg’s chairmanship of Blohm + Voss, a Hamburg-based shipbuilder in which he is a minority shareholder.

Reporters asked the Vatican spokesman how the church could justify hiring someone who worked for a company with a long history of making warships.