5 Vatican officials were suspended after police raided offices of the Secretariat of State investigating complaints regarding financial transactions.
On Tuesday morning, Vatican police raided the offices of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State and the Financial Information Authority, seizing “documents and electronic devices.”
The raid was authorized by Vatican’s chief prosecutor Gian Piero Milano following complaints from the beginning of last summer by the Institute for the Works of Religion, known as the Vatican Bank, and the Office of the Auditor General. The complaints were “regarding financial transactions carried out over time.” The operation is believed to be the first ever into the offices of Secretariat of State.
On Wednesday morning, the Italian magazine L’Espresso reported five Vatican employees had been given a “cautionary suspension” following the raid: director of the Financial Information Authority Tommaso di Ruzza, head of documentation at the Secretariat of State Monsignor Mauro Carlino, investment manager Fabrizio Tirabassi, and two others with minor roles.
The Gendarmerie corps issued a notice to the Swiss Guards who monitor access in and out of Vatican City identifying the five, saying they could only enter to visit the Health and Hygiene Department or if ordered to do so by the Vatican judiciary. Monsignor Carlino will continue to reside at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the residence of the Pope Francis and other Curia members.
L’Espresso reported the financial transactions “apparently conducted irregularly” concerned “real-estate transactions in the millions” at “prestigious properties in London,” with “strange English companies” having taken part in the dealings. They also reported investigators were looking into the flow of funds through Peter’s Pence, donations around the world that go directly to the Pope for charitable activity.
Read the statement from the Holy See Press Office on the Vatican’s official website here.