Pell surprised at suspension of Vatican audit

The Vatican’s finance chief, Cardinal George Pell, has expressed surprise at the suspension of an independent audit of the Vatican’s finances.

The Vatican’s Secretariat of State suspended the audit by international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers last week.

This is four months after the Vatican had announced PwC was to perform the audit.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, said that the audit had been paused because there are “underway detailed studies of some aspects relative to the agreement” reached with the firm.

According to media reports, the problem was not connected to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which had just begun its work.

Rather the issue was whether internal Vatican procedures were followed completely in offering a contract to the firm.

A letter sent to all Holy See departments from the Secretariat of State’s Archbishop Giovanni Angelo stated that Cardinal Pell’s instruction for Vatican bodies to co-operate with the firm had been overruled by “superior provision”.

In a short statement, Cardinal Pell, who is the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, said he is “a bit surprised” at the move.

Cardinal Pell said he anticipates the audit will “resume shortly” after “discussions and clarification” of some issues.

The cardinal that the work of the “internal auditor which covers all areas has not been interrupted”.

It has been reported that the move to suspend the initiative has been seen as a move not only to undermine the work of Cardinal Pell and the department he runs, but moreover the Vatican’s Council for the Economy which was responsible for appointing the auditors.

On April 21, Cardinal Pell had a private audience with Pope Francis.

The December appointment of PwC was announced by the Vatican as “continuing the implementation of new financial management policies and practices in line with international standards”.


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