Australian corruption watchdog dismisses Vatican speculation in Pell case

Vatican speculation Pell

An Australian anti-corruption agency said it was not investigating speculation about the transfer of Vatican funds to Australia in the Cardinal Pell case.

The anti-corruption agency statement contradicts Italian media speculation that the money might be linked to the overturned convictions of Cardinal George Pell for child sex abuse.

Last month, several Italian newspapers reported unsubstantiated claims that Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was suspected of wiring €700,000 to Australian banks in 2018.

This money was supposedly used to help secure evidence against Cardinal Pell in his sexual abuse trial.

Federal financial crimes regulator AUSTRAC confirmed it had provided information to both the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victoria Police.

The AFP said it referred some of the financial intelligence onto Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

But in a statement on Nov 11, IBAC said there was not enough substance to warrant an investigation.

“IBAC confirms it received information based on media reports which alleged Vatican funds were transferred to individuals in support of the recent case against George Pell,” the commission said.

“IBAC has reviewed the information and found the threshold to commence inquiries or an investigation was not met.

“This matter would only be further considered if any additional, credible information is received,” the commission said in a statement.

Pell was brought in by Pope Francis to bring accountability and transparency to the Vatican’s opaque finances in 2014. Becciu and Pell were known to have clashed over Pell’s financial clean-up efforts at the Holy See.

The Italian newspaper speculated that Becciu might have “bought” the testimony of Pell’s accuser to get Pell out of the Vatican.

Pell’s accuser, who cannot be identified, has denied the allegation.

Becciu was subsequently dismissed over allegations that he wired 100,000 euros in Vatican funds to a charity headed by his brother.

He has denied wrongdoing over those funds and has repeatedly denied involvement in Pell’s conviction.

In 2019 Pell was convicted of sexual offences and sentenced to six years imprisonment. The charges were overturned by the High Court of Australia in 2020 and Pell was freed from prison in April.


ABC News



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