Pope Francis ordered that funds from the Vatican Secretary of State be managed by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and controlled by the “ministry” of Economy, after the latest scandals such as the purchase of a building in London that ended up creating a hole in the Vatican finances of more than 400 million euros.
The pope had already decided on this step on August 25 and so communicated it to the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, in a letter that was published today and in which he also indicates that “it is necessary to leave as soon as possible, or at least act in such a way that all reputational risks are eliminated“relating to investments in London and in the Maltese Centurion fund.
“The theme of the meeting was to promote the implementation of what the Holy Father requested by letter to the Secretary of State, dated August 25, 2020, on the transfer of the administrative management of funds from the Secretary of State to the administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See and its control to the Ministry of Economy“the Vatican explained in a note.
In the same meeting, the Pope created the “Commission of passage and control”, which goes into operation with immediate effect, to be completed in the next three months. This commission is constituted by the substitute to the Secretary of State, Edgar Peña Parra; the president of APSA, Nunzio Galantino and the prefect of the Ministry of Economy, Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves.
In the letter of August 25, the pope explains that he made this decision so that economic activities continue in a “more evangelical, transparent and effective line.” It explains that although the Secretary of State is the dicastery (ministry) that most closely supports the pope’s action, “it does not seem necessary or appropriate for me to perform all the functions that are already attributed to other departments “.
In this way, the pope established that “all the funds that have been administered by the Secretary of State until now be incorporated into the consolidated budget of the Holy See” except “in regard to matters reserved and subject to secrecy, approved by the Commission appointed for this purpose “. “The Secretary of State will not have to administer assets, it will be convenient to redefine its administrative office or evaluate the need for its existence “, adds the pontiff.
This decision of the pope was produced as a result of the investigation of the financial operation of sale of a building in London and for which some officials of the Secretary of State have been suspended from their jobs, among them Tommaso Di Ruzza, the director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), a body instituted for the fight against money laundering.
Furthermore, within the framework of the Vatican investigation, it was Italian financier Gianluigi Torzi arrested, for the crimes of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money laundering, being the intermediary in the operation of the Sloane Avenue building and which has ended up costing the Vatican coffers almost 400 million euros.
The pope’s letter predates the removal by the pope of the former substitute of the Secretary of State (2011-2018) and prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Angelo Becciu, who even had to renounce the rights of the cardinal. Subsequently, the Italian press has revealed that Becciu could also be investigated for embezzlement of the Secretary of State’s funds.