ROME – Pope Francis is giving the Vatican Secretary of State three months to transfer all his finances to another Vatican office after mismanaging hundreds of millions of euros in donations and investments that are currently subject to a corruption investigation.
Francis summoned Foreign Minister Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his deputy as well as top Vatican financial officials for a meeting on Wednesday and gave them a three-month window to complete the transfer, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
The Vatican released the letter Francis wrote to Parolin on 25 August in which he announced that he was stripping the secretariat’s ability to manage money independently.
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Pope Francis cited “reputational risks” due to the ministry’s investments in a London real estate venture and other speculative activities that cost the Holy See tens of millions of euros, part of it. it is the money raised by Peter’s Pence members from the faithful.
Pope Francis’ decision is a shameful blow to the state secretariat as the most powerful office of the Holy See, reducing it to basically any other department that has to propose a budget and be others approve and supervise.
Its financial holdings will now be held by the Vatican treasury office, the Holy See Administration, or APSA, and included in the Holy See’s consolidated budget, Francis wrote. The Ministry of Economy will oversee the expenditure.
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Essentially, the results were sought years ago by Cardinal George Pell, Francis’ first economic minister, who clashed with the state state over his financial reforms and his attempt to gain power. control of the department’s out-of-book funds. Pell famously bragged in 2014 that he “discovered” hundreds of millions of euros that were “hidden in specific division accounts and not on the balance sheet” – a reference by the Secretariat. sign on a list of internal state assets.
Pell had to abandon those reform efforts in 2017 to face a trial of sexual abuse charges in his native Australia, but he was acquitted and returned victorious to Rome last month. where he is made public with Pope Francis.
Francis has been against his own secretariat amid Vatican prosecutors a year-long investigation of the office’s € 350 million investment in a luxury residential building in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Prosecutors have accused some ministry officials of abusing their powers to participate in the deal, as well as some Italian middlemen accused of fleeing the Vatican with tens of millions of euros in fees.
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The scandal has shown the inadequacy of the Vatican’s charlatans in managing money, since they signed off voting shares in the deal and agreed to pay unnecessary exorbitant fees to those Italy is famously known in the business world for their shady deals.
Just this week, a judge in Italy authorized the financial police to search the home of one of the Vatican’s prerogatives and two Italian businessmen involved in the deal, as well as several of their relatives. and three related businesses, on an order of The Associated Press.
In his letter to Parolin informing him of his decision, Francis cited the London joint venture as well as the state investment secretariat in a Malta-based investment vehicle, the Centurion Global Fund, is headed by a longtime Vatican external currency manager.
According to the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, Centurion has invested in projects such as the movie “Rocket Man” about Elton John as well as a parent company led by Lapo Elkann, one of the most lavish members of the Agnelli family. Italy tops.
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