NU Online News Service, May 15, 12:05 p.m. – Martin Frankel, a jailed financier accused of costing seven life insurance companies more than $200 million, is back in the news.
Frankel has been awaiting trial in New Haven, Conn., on federal charges of fraud, conspiracy and racketeering. A source who requests anonymity says Frankel might head off a trial by pleading guilty today at a hearing in New Haven.
Meanwhile, insurance commissioners from Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma are suing the Vatican in federal court in Mississippi for allegedly helping Frankel destroy life insurers in their states.
By law, each of the states must cover any insurance claims filed by customers of the bankrupt companies.
The suit names as defendants the Vatican; Thomas Corbally, a New York consultant; Msgr. Emilio Colagiovanni a former Vatican official; Monitor Ecclesiasticus, a church foundation; and several former Frankel associates.
The plaintiffs accuse the defendants of lending legitimacy to a phony charity that Frankel set up to hide his involvement in purchasing the insurers.
The plaintiffs maintain the Vatican is not immune from prosecution in the Frankel case either as a religious organization or as a sovereign state.
“By assisting Frankel in the attempted purchase of U.S. insurance companies during 1998 and 1999, the Vatican, through its agents, carried on commercial activities in the United States, committed acts in the United States which affected its commercial activities elsewhere, and engaged in commercial activities outside the United States which had a direct effect within the United States,” the plaintiffs state.