Friday, October 23, 2020

Vatican’s anti-money laundering executive suspended in a financial misconduct probe

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Five Vatican employees, including the number two at its anti-money laundering authority, have been suspended following police raids linked to a financial wrongdoing probe, Italian media said Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from Vatican authorities to the report which came the day after prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices from he offices of two key Vatican departments, the Secretariat of State and the FIA financial authority.

The L’Espresso magazine published a police circular dated Wednesday showing photographs and the positions of the five “suspended as a precaution”.

The circular said Vatican guards should no longer grant access to the five, except for healthcare purposes.

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One of those suspended, secretariat head of information and documentation Mgr Mauro Carlino, will continue to be granted residence in the same hotel complex which is home to Pope Francis.

Also named was FIA director Tommaso Di Ruzza. The FIA is an independent anti-money laundering authority designed to lend transparency to operations by the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) — which acts as the Vatican Bank.

The three others suspended hold administrative posts in the secretariat.

The Vatican had said Tuesday’s raids, authorised by prosecutor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy Alessandro Diddi, were “linked to the complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Works of Religion and the Office of the General Auditor, regarding financial transactions carried out over time.”

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The Secretariat of State, the Catholic Church’s governing body, works closely with Pope Francis.

L’Espresso reported that the investigation was looking into “real estate operations abroad,” notably in London with the alleged participation of British companies.

The magazine said investigators were analysing transactions on bank accounts which receive sums of money donated to the Catholic Church.

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