Vatican prosecutors investigate lay secretariat official

Vatican prosecutors are investigating a lay official who oversaw investments for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The investigation is probing the secretariat official’s appointment as a director of a company owned by the financier who brokered the deal for a London luxury apartment building.

Vatican prosecutors are also continuing to look into suspicious financial transactions and investments at the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The secretariat official being investigated is one of five Vatican employees suspended in October 2019 after Vatican gendarmes raided the secretariat, seizing computers and documents related to financial dealings .

The official has not returned to work and it is not clear if he is still employed.

On 30 April the Holy See press office confirmed “individual measures” had been taken against some employees in relation to the ongoing investigations, but did not specify what that might mean.

The luxury apartment building is at the center of the secretariat’s investments and financial transactions Vatican prosecutors are scrutinising.

The building was purchased in stages between 2014-2018 from Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione. At that time, Mincione was managing hundreds of millions of euros of secretariat funds.

When Minicone’s holding company sold the secretariat 30,000 of 31,000 shares in the 60 Sloane Avenue, London building project, it retained the 1,000 voting shares it needed to control the holding company which owned the building.

Mincione eventually offered to part with those, at greatly inflated prices.

To complete the sale, the Secretariat of State enlisted the help of another businessman, Gianluigi Torzi.

Torzi, who acted as a commission-earning middleman for the purchase of the remaining shares, earned 10 million euros for his role in the deal.

Although the Catholic News Agency has questioned the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about the deal and the secretariat’s involvement, he has not responded.

he was specifically asked if he was aware of the appointment, and whether he considered it appropriate for an official at the secretariat to accept such a position. he was also asked if officials at the secretariat are generally permitted to accept such positions.

Cardinal Parolin did not respond by the time of publication.

Gianluigi Torzi also has connections with British-Italian architect, Luciano Capaldo, who is the director of a U.K. registered holding company owned by the Secretariat of State, which controls the Sloane Avenue property.

Capaldo has previously served as a director of several companies at which Torzi has also served as a director.

After several directors were appointed and removed by the secretariat in 2019, Capaldo is now the sole director of the property.


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