23 October 2019
A confidential report from the Vatican’s anti-corruption authority shows that the Secretariat of State has used about $725 million in reckless speculative operations. In the same report General Auditor says about 77% of the assets (about $558 million) were put into Swiss and Italian branches of the investment bank Credit Suisse.
In 2012 Vatican purchased 45% of a London property, converting a former Harrod’s warehouse into luxury apartments. When the London real estate market took a downturn, the Vatican, in 2018, pulled out of Mincione’s fund and purchased the remaining 55% of the property.
A second confidential document acquired by L’Espresso is the 16-page decree authorizing the Oct. 1 search of the offices of the Secretariat of State and the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF). This report led to the suspension of five Vatican officials and employees who were linked to the purchase of London property.
The Financial Times reported that the Vatican’s 2014 and 2018 investments were authorized by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu (in picture). In 2016, Becciu was instrumental in stopping Vatican financial reforms initiated by Cardinal George Pell.
Becciu cancelled an external audit of all Vatican departments, to be conducted by the firm PriceWaterhouseCooper. When Pell challenged internally the audit’s cancellation, Becciu persuaded Pope Francis to give his decision ex post facto approval, sources inside the prefecture told CNA. The audit never took place. In 2017, Becciu was also responsible for the dismissal of the Vatican’s first-ever auditor general, Libero Milone. Becciu accused Milone of spying on the finances of senior officials, including Becciu. He threatened criminal prosecution of Milone if he did not agree to leave his Vatican office quietly. In May 2018, the Vatican quietly announced it had dropped all charges against Milone.
While Pope wants to end corruption in Vatican State, he is not firm enough to condemn corrupt senior officials. Only minor officials and employees are charged and punished for the crimes of senior leaders.
Catholic News Agency reported.