A leaked report from the Vatican’s Anti-Corruption Authority claims to have found “serious indications” of financial crimes within the Secretariat of State.
Yesterday, Italian magazine L’Espresso published three internal Vatican documents related to an investigation started earlier this month into the offices of the Secretariat of State and Financial Information Authority, investigating “financial transactions.”
One report from the Office of the General Auditor details the use of approximately 725 million dollars by the Secretariat of State in “reckless speculative operations.” The “extra-budgetary” i.e off-the-books funds were sourced primarily from Peter’s Pence, an annual collection of donations supposed to be used for the Pope’s charitable works.
77% of those funds, around 558 million dollars, were put into Swiss and Italian branches of the investment bank Credit Suisse, the use of which shows “glaring irregularities” and “worrying scenarios.”
Another report is a decree authorizing the raid earlier this month that led to the suspension of five Vatican officials. It shows the complaints that prompted the investigation were given by interim Auditor General Alessandro Cassinis Righini and director of the Vatican Bank Gian Franco Mammi.
In the search decree, Prosecutors Gian Piero Milano and Alessandro Diddi say they have found “serious indications of embezzlement, fraud, abuse of office, money laundering and self-money laundering.”
Another report details a potential 223 million dollar investment into a startup oil company in Angola. Italian financier Raffaele Mincione asked the Vatican to do so on their behalf. The investment was approved by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, then-bishop and chief of staff for the Secretariat of State and former papal nuncio to Angola.
When the project fell apart, Mincione instead proposed making the investment in a London property, converting a former warehouse into luxury apartments. The Vatican purchased a 45% stake through his investment company, and in 2018 pulled out to purchase the remaining 55% stake. An “absolute protagonist” in the deal was Father Mauro Carlino, once secretary to Cardinal Becciu and one of the five officials suspended earlier this month after the raid.
The L’Espresso report was written by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, who also was involved in the 2015 “Vatileaks” scandal.