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Vatican reforms finances following London property scandal


#Pope #Francis has stripped the #Vatican’s powerful central administration office of an investment portfolio worth hundreds of millions of euros following a scandal linked to luxury #London real estate development in #Chelsea.

The #Vatican said that all of the financial assets of the #Secretariat of #State, the #Holy #See’s state bureaucracy, would be placed under the control of APSA, the #Vatican’s existing centralised asset manager, from the start of the new year.

The announcement follows #Pope #Francis requesting the resignation of #Cardinal #Giovanni #Angelo #Becciu, who oversaw the investments of the #Secretariat from 2011 to 2018, earlier this year amid an ongoing #Vatican police investigation into how these funds were managed. #Cardinal #Becciu has denied any wrongdoing.

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The #Pope has requested the resignation of #Cardinal #Giovanni #Angelo #Becciu, who has denied any wrongdoing © #Gregorio #Borgia/AP

The #Vatican also said that #Pope #Francis had ordered the #Secretariat’s management of the so-called #Peter’s #Pence charitable donations made by #Catholics around the world would now also be placed under the control of APSA.

The #Financial #Times has reported extensively on how hundreds of millions of assets held in #Swiss bank accounts by the #Secretariat were invested in assets, including a property development scheme in #Chelsea, that the #Vatican has said resulted in the #Catholic #Church suffering large losses.

#Gianluigi #Torzi, a #London-based #Italian businessman who acted for the #Secretariat in its #London property investments, was earlier this year arrested and charged by the #Vatican with “extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and self laundering”. #Mr #Torzi, who was later released from custody, denies any wrongdoing.

#Last month #Italian financial police, acting on a request by the #Vatican judicial authorities, executed a search and seizure warrant against a group of people linked to the #Secretariat’s investments including a suspended #Vatican official and #Raffaele #Mincione, a #London-based fund manager who oversaw the #Chelsea property development.

#Mr #Mincione, who denies any wrongdoing, said that he had “co-operated fully and beyond what was requested”, and that he was certain that the investigation would “confirm the lack of [his] involvement with respect to what may be envisaged by the authorities of the #Holy #See”.

#Nunzio #Galantino, president of APSA, said that the #Secretariat’s investment in the #London development scheme had directly influenced the decision to strip the office of its financial assets.

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“The affair of the #London property helped us to understand what control mechanisms needed to be strengthened,” he said in comments to the #Vatican’s state news outlet. “It made us understand many things: not only how much we lost — an aspect that we are still evaluating — but also how and why we lost it”.

#Mr #Galantino also said that the #Pope had long requested that there was a “more marked distinction” between the #Peter’s #Pence charity money managed by the #Secretariat and other funds.



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https://www.ft.com/content/a2107f16-4474-4df2-ac46-806ab707f29a

##Vatican #reforms #finances ##London #property #scandal

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