The Vatican’s banking arm

An Irish bank loaned huge sums to Catholic dioceses in the US with the result that the dioceses in question were able to stay out of court.

Of the deals, by far the largest line of credit was for Los Angeles, for $256m. The diocese avoided going into court with abuse victims by reaching a settlement in advance.

It emerged afterwards that AIB loans and guarantees accounted for almost half of total settlement.

The deal included $175m in cash and another $25m to pay the interest, and helped Los Angeles avoid selling the bulk of its properties or reveal the true value of its total assets.

Which was very kind of the bank…which is odd, given that banks aren’t usually in the kindness business.

An AIB spokesman said: ‘AIB’s business focus in America was in the ‘Not for Profit’ areas and this included churches.

‘Any loans advanced were approved in accordance with AIBGroup policy.’

An AIB source said they were ‘standard commercial loans’.

Not for profit, but commercial? What does that mean?

Only after the revelations in the Boston diocese in 2002 did [one victim] set off on the long road to forcing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to reveal what it knew. Esther’s case was one of hundreds, which were finally settled in mid 2007 for $660m.

And she had no idea until this week that Allied Irish Bank had helpfully stepped in with guarantees of hundreds of millions.

The deal allowed the Archdiocese to avoid going to court and opening all its documents to scrutiny.

What a very kind bank.

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