Vatican police raid influential church official’s home

An influential church official’s home and office have been raided by Vatican police.

Documents and computers were seized during the raid that focused on Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, a former top deputy in the Catholic Church’s powerful Secretariat of State, according to a Vatican statement.

Perlasca serves on the influential managing board of several key financial departments in the Secretariat.

He helps oversee health care and pensions for Vatican employees, the operations of Catholic hospitals and the Ratzinger Foundation, which offers grants for theologians and is named for the emeritus pope.

He is also a magistrate in a Vatican tribunal

Tuesday’s raid was the most recent phase of an investigation into the purchase of luxury London real estate.

The investigation involves suspected irregularities in the estimated $200 million purchase of a building in London’s Chelsea district several years ago as an investment using Church funds.

Last year five Vatican employees were suspended during the investigation, the Vatican’s police chief resigned and the former head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) departed.

So far Perlasca, 59, has not been reached for comment.

He is the sixth and highest ranking Vatican official to be implicated in the continuing scandal surrounding the Holy See’s finances.

The official Vatican News website said Perlasca is suspected of embezzlement, abuse of office and corruption.

Pope Francis and other Vatican officials have defended using Church money for real estate investments as long as they are ethical.

Francis said last year Church money should not be “kept in a drawer”.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, also a former top official of the Secretariat of State, said the value of the London investment had tripled but that unspecified middlemen had behaved improperly.



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