Gerald Posner

March 5, 2015 - Gerald Posner 03/05/2015 Views: 21,828

Gerald Posner discusses the Vatican's role as a secretive and influential financial institution in his book "God's Bankers." (7:25)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT A BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED "GOD'SBANKERS: THE HISTORY OF MONEY

AND POWER AT THE VATICAN."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THEPROGRAM GERALD POSNER. SIR!

ALRIGHT. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Jon: WE'RE GOING TO GETINTO THIS, "GOD'S BANKERS."

I GOTTA TELL YOU, YOU KNOW, MYSENSE OF THE VATICAN IN TERMS OF

BANKING, I THINK IT WASALWAYS MORE PROVINCIAL,

THIS IDEA THAT THEY HAVE ACONSTITUENCY THAT TITHES.

THEY DO THESE COLLECTIONS.

THEY MANAGE THEIR REAL ESTATE.

THAT IT'S SOMEWHAT OF AN INSULARFINANCIAL SYSTEM.

I AM INCORRECT.

>> I WAS INCORRECT.

WHEN I STARTED TO LOOK INTO THESUBJECT I THOUGHT OF IT AS A MOM

AND POP SHOP.

I MEAN, I KNEW IT WAS THEWORLD'S BIGGEST RELIGION AND

IT WAS ITS OWN COUNTRY.

BUT I FIGURED IT WAS PEOPLE ATTHE END GIVING MONEY AT THE END

OF A PEW INTO A COLLECTION BOXAND THAT THEY'RE OPERATING ON A

SHOESTRING.

IT TURNS OUT, IN FACT, THAT THEYHAVE A CROSS BETWEEN THE FEDERAL

RESERVE AND A WALLSTREET INVESTMENT FIRM

AS THEIR OWN BANK,AND THEY OPERATE IT IN THE DARK,

IN TOTAL SECRECY,UNTIL THE LAST FEW YEARS,

SO IT'S BECOME A HAVENFOR EVERYTHING FROM MAFIA

DRUG LAUNDERING TO MONEYLAUNDERING TO PEOPLE AT THE TOP

OF ITALY DECIDING NOT TO PAYTAXES.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> TO QUESTIONS ABOUTWHETHER THEY DID

BUSINESS WITH THE NAZIS DURINGTHE WAR.

SO, THE MOM AND POP SHOP THATYOU THOUGHT IT WAS, THAT I

THOUGHT IT WAS, TURNS OUTTO BE IN FACT A LARGE

CENTRAL BANK WITH MOREPROBLEMS THAN MOST COUNTRIES.

>> Jon: IN SOME RESPECTS,COMFORTING TO KNOW HEY MAN,

THEY'RE JUST LIKE US.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> IT'S TRUE IN THE SENSE THAT ISAY THAT IN THE END, ALL THIS

BOOK PROVES IS THAT THE MEN WHOHAVE RUN THE CHURCH FOR DECADES,

FOR 2,000 YEARS.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT THE PERIOD I'M LOOK AT,FOR 150 YEARS, ARE MORTAL.

THEY'RE NOT INFALLIBLE.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THEY MAY BE INFALLIBLE INTHEIR POPE WHEN THEY'RE

MAKING A DECISION BASED UPONFAITH, BUT IN THE END,

THEY HAVE ALL THE FOIBLES ANDWEAKNESSES THAT WE HAVE AND

MAYBE MORE SO BECAUSE IT'S NOTJUST THAT THEY'RE INVOLVED WITH

MONEY.

BUT THAT'S ALL THEY CAN DO ISMONEY AND POWER AND

THE FAITH, THEY ARE 900 OR 800MEN IN VATICAN CITY-- THAT'S THE

ENTIRE COUNTRY-->> Jon: RIGHT.

>> WITH CELIBATE VOWS--

>> Jon: THE KEY THEREIS "COUNTRY."

IF THEY WEREN'T A COUNTRY-- SOIF THEY WERE A PART OF THE

FISCAL SYSTEM OF ANOTHERCOUNTRY, OR SOMETHING ALONG

THOSE LINES BUT BY BEING ACOUNTRY THEY ARE ALMOST LIKE AN

OFFSHORE BANKING HAVEN BUTWITHOUT BEING OFFSHORE.

>> EXACTLY.

THEY ARE AN OFFSHORE BANK IN THEHEART OF ROME AS I CALL THEM.

IT WOULD BE THE EQUIVALENT, JON,IF TIMES SQUARE WAS ITS OWN

COUNTRY.

>> Jon: OH.

>> IT'S THE SAME SIZE.

( LAUGHTER )>> Jon: LORD, IT WAS IN THE 70s.

>> I HAD A PASSPORT --

>> NOW IT'S-- NOW IT'S M&M-ISTAN-- IT'S JUST.

>> SO BEFORE IT WAS M&M-ISTAN -->> Jon: YEAH.

>> AND IT WAS ITS OWN REALVIBRANT COUNTRY IN THE 70s --

>> Jon: YES.

>> IT'S ABOUT THE SIZE OF 42 TO49TH STREET. 2/10ths OF A MILE.

SIZE OF VATICAN CITY.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> IF YOU LIVED ON 39th STREETAND YOU WERE A NEW YORKER, IF

YOU WERE ABLE TO TAKE THE MONEYTHAT YOU HAD, A MILLION DOLLARS

IN A TRUCK AND MOVE ANDHAD A FRIEND INSIDE OF

TIMES SQUARE, ITS OWN COUNTRY,WHO WOULD TAKE IT AND DEPOSIT

IT INTO THAT BANK,NOBODY IN NEW YORK--

>> Jon: IT DISAPPEARS.>> IT WOULD DISAPPEAR.

>> Jon: IT DISAPPEARS.

>> NO DRUG INVESTIGATOR.

NO PROSECUTOR, NO TAX AUTHORITY.

NO ONE ELSE CAN FOLLOW IT.

AND THAT'S THE KEY.

WHEN YOU SAY THIS IS ITS OWNCOUNTRY, REMEMBER THESE WERE

POPE KINGS. FOR 1800YEARS THEY HAD THEIR OWN EMPIRE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THEY LOST IT IN THE1800s,

AND THEY GET IT BACK FROM BENITOMUSSOLINI, THE FASCIST DICTATOR

OF ITALY, WHO GIVES THEMSOVEREIGNTY IN 1929.

IT CHANGES THE WHOLE PICTURE.

>> Jon: AND NOW WHEN THEY HADSOVEREIGNTY, YOU KNOW,

ONE OF THE THINGS,THOUGH, THAT I THINK IS ALMOST

AGAIN COMFORTING IS THAT THEMOTIVE HERE IS FINANCIAL

VIABILITY, NOT, YOU KNOW-- THEYDID BUSINESS WITH THE NAZIS, NOT

OUT OF A LOVE OF NAZIS, BUT THEYWERE AFRAID OF THE COMMUNISTS.

YOU KNOW, IT WASN'T-- THINGSWERE MOTIVATED BY OTHER MOTIVES

THAN WHAT YOU WOULD IMAGINE.

>> MOTIVATED IN PART-- I THINKTHAT I'M THE FIRST WRITER-- I

SAY THAT WITH SOME HESITATION.

THERE MAY BE SOMEBODY ELSE OUTTHERE.

I THINK I'M THE FIRST PERSON INTHE BOOK TO PUT FORTH THE

PROCESS OR THE THOUGHT THAT PARTOF THE REASON FOR THE POPE'S

SILENCE DURING WORLD WAR II OVERTHE HOLOCAUST WAS NOT JUST ALL

THE QUESTION ABOUTANTI-SEMITISM AND FEAR THE

COMMUNISM, AND LOVE OF GERMANYBUT WAS IN PART FINANCIAL.

THERE WAS A FINANCIAL MOTIVATINGFACTOR.

NOBODY'S THOUGHT ABOUT MONEYBEFORE.

THE NAZIS WERE COLLECTING ATAX FOR THE VATICAN THAT

AMOUNTED TO $100 MILLION A YEARIN 1943.

EVERY GERMAN CATHOLIC HAS TO PAYTHE TAX.

THE NAZIS SAID TO THEM, GUESSWHAT?

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE VOLUNTARYANYMORE.

WE'LL COLLECT AT THE SOURCE LIKEA PAYROLL TAX.

THEY DID THAT.

THEY WERE GOING TO LOSE THAT IFTHEY MOVED AGAINST THE NAZI.

THEY HAD INSURANCE INVESTMENTSIN EASTERN EUROPE --

>> AND ALSO THEY WEREAFRAID OF THE BOLSHEVIKS,

THEY WERE AFRAID THAT THEBOLSHEVIKS WOULD COME IN

AND THAT THEY WOULD BE NEXT.

THEY WOULD BE THE NEXT GROUPTHAT WAS KILLED.

>> PETRIFIED OF THE BOLSHEVIKS.

THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY AFRAID OFTHE REDS, AND AS A MATTER OF

FACT, NOT ONLY DID THAT FORCETHEM, NOT FORCE THEM

THEY DID BUSINESS WITH THEGERMANS AND THE AMERICANS AND

THE BRITISH.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BECAUSE THEY WERE EQUALOPPORTUNITY PROFITEERS DURING

THE WAR.

BUT AFTER THE WAR, THAT FORCEDTHE VATICAN IN BED WITH THE

AMERICANS AND THE BRITISH.

>> Jon: YEAH. WE JUMPED IN ANDSTARTED LAUNDERING MONEY.

WE LOOKED AT THAT AND SAID WE'REEVIL, TOO. COME ON!

WHAT OUR MONEY IS TOO GOOD FORYOU? NO, IT'S DIRTY, HERE.

>> WE SEND MONEY OVER THERE ANDTHEY SEND MONEY ON OUR BEHALF.

WE ALSO JOINED A PARTNERSHIPWITH THEM AS YOU KNOW

TO SEND NAZIS TO SOUTH AMERICA.SO THEY HAD THEIR OWN --

THEY HAD A BISHOP AND PRIESTSENDING NAZIS TO SOUTH AMERICA,

AND THEN BRITISH AND AMERICANINTELLIGENCE SAID OH --

>> Jon: PAYING FOR THAT.>> YEAH, WE'LL HELP YOU.

AND DROPPED OFF GUYS LIKE KLAUSBARBIE, THE BUTCHER OF LYON

WITH A CATHOLIC PRIESTWHO WAS RUNNING A SEMINARY

AND HE TAKES THEM DOWN TOSOUTH AMERICA.

AND THEN IN THE 40s AND THE 60s,IT'S THE VATICAN GETS INVOLVED

IN HELPING US FIGHT THE REDS.

SO THEY'RE SENDING MONEY TOBRING DOWN COMMUNISM.

>> Jon: RIGHT. BRING THIS UP TOMODERN DAY, POPE FRANCIS, WHO IS

SEEMINGLY TAKING ON EVERY KNOWNORTHODOXY WITHIN THE CATHOLIC

CHURCH, INCLUDING THE FINANCIALSYSTEM.

HE'S MADE IT MORE TRANSPARENT.

HE'S ATTEMPTED TO TRY ANDDEMYSTIFY IT TO SOME EXTENT.

>> HE HAS.

I THINK THAT-- I WAS SKEPTICALRANCIS FIRST WAS ELECTED ELECTED

IN 2013 BECAUSE HE SAID THESETHINGS, "I'M GOING TO REFORM THE

FINANCES," AND OTHER POPESHAVE SAID THAT AND THEY'VE DONE

NOTHING.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THEY HAVE BEEN FOILED BYTHE BUREAUCRACY UNDERNEATH.

IT'S TRADITIONALIST, THEY DON'TWANT IT TO REFORM.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> FRANCIS SAID THAT, BUT ITHINK HE IS THE REAL DEAL.

HE HAS PASSED A SERIES OFREFORMS, THAT IF HE IS POPE

LONG ENOUGH-- AND THAT'SQUESTION.

YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THEUNDERLYING BUREAUCRACY.

IT WILL TAKE YEARS -->> Jon: RIGHT.

>> 5-10 YEARS, MAYBE, THEN ITWILL BE A BORING MIDLEVEL BANK

GOING FORWARD. I'VE ALSO ASKEDHIM, ONLY HE HASN'T RESPONDED,

I SENT HIM A COPY OF THIS BOOKWITH A COVER LETTER.

I DID.

( LAUGHTER )ADDRESSED TO "HIS HOLINESS."

I'M CATHOLIC --

>> Jon: NO, I THOUGHT THAT WASGOING SOMEHWERE LIKE, I ALSO

ASKED HIM. I WAS LIKE, YOUTALKED TO THE POPE?

>> YEAH I KNOW.>> Jon: LIKE WELL --

>> I ASKED THROUGH A LETTER,ANYWAY.

>> HE MIGHT ANSWER. HE CALLSPEOPLE UP OCCASIONALLY.

FOUR NUNS CALLED HIM AND HECALLED THEM BACK AND LEFT A

MESSAGE ON THEIR ANSWERINGMACHINE.

>> Jon: SURE.

>> SO I'VE ASKED HIM IF HE WOULDBE WILLING TO RELEASE THE

VATICAN BANK'S WORLD WAR II-ERADOCUMENTS BECAUSE THOSE

ARE STILL SEALED.

THEY GAVE ME A STIFF-ARM WHEN ITRIED TO GET THEM.

MAYBE HE CAN REFORM IT NOTONLY GOING FORWARD BUT ALSO A

LITTLE TRANSPARENCYGOING BACK. THAT WOULD BE GREAT.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

WELL, GOOD LUCKWITH THAT.

( LAUGHTER )INCREDIBLE STORY.

INCREDIBLE.

REALLY WELL DONE.

"GOD'S BANKERS."

IT'S ON THE BOOKSHELVES NOW.

GERALD POSNER, EVERYBODY.

( APPLAUSE )( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).