Businessman with Vatican links a suspect in new hospital fraud case

Search warrants have been executed across northern Italy this week by Italian financial police investigating an Italian businessman who is a suspect in racketeering, fraud and criminal corruption.

The investigations targeted broker Gianluigi Torzi who, along with four others, is currently on trial in the Vatican.

The group are allegedly involved in packaging bad debt claims to Italian hospitals and selling them as bond securities with a nominal value of one billion euros.

Torzi, who brokered the Vatican’s 2018 purchase of a London development project, is facing trial in the Vatican City State on charges of extortion, embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

The allegations which led to this week’s raids bear a striking similarity to Torzi’s previous business dealings involving debt securitisation at other Italian hospitals. There are also alleged links to organised crime and the Vatican’s London property deal.

Italian authorities had been investigating whether companies owned by Torzi defrauded Rome’s Fatebenefratelli Hospital when they helped convert debts owed to the hospital into securities that could be sold at a diminished value to raise cash for hospital operations.

There are conflicting reports in Italian media about how, exactly, Torzi’s companies are believed to have defrauded the hospital.

But generally, they are described as having realised large commissions and exorbitant service fees for their work, while allegedly withholding some funds owed to the hospital.

Torzi has maintained his innocence and, in October 2021, the Vatican announced a rescue plan for the hospital.

Torzi became involved with the Vatican in 2018, as the Secretariat of State sought to separate from its investment manager Raffaele Mincione.

Mincione owned the London property in which the Vatican was investing. Torzi was contracted by the secretariat to broker the final part of the Vatican’s purchase for a total cost of some 350 million euros.

According to The Pillar (a catholic media project), Torzi’s companies had previously lent Mincione 26 million euros against the value of bank shares which had collapsed in value earlier.

Both men have been charged in Vatican City by prosecutors in the current financial trial.



AP News

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