That’s why Vatican Anti-Money Laundering is in the storm. In-depth analysis by Andrea Mainardi
It is impossible to find any memory of gendarmes hunting for cards and computers under the frescoed ceilings of the Third Loggia of the Apostolic Palace. There where the Vatican Secretariat of State works. In the heart of the government of the Catholic Church. The cops came out on Tuesday with boxes of materials. In comparison, the similar inspection carried out in the same hours at Palazzo San Carlo – in the more secular local AIF, the anti-money laundering authority of the Holy See, a stone’s throw from Casa Santa Marta, chosen by Pope Francis as a residence – is less impressive.
But even from those offices the Vatican gendarmerie collected documents and PC memories. In less than twenty-four hours, the inspectors coordinated by commander Domenico Giani examined the material. Until the decision to suspend five Vatican employees “as a precaution”. Circular signed on 2 October. Two names among others. Of the highest magnitude. For a story told like this it could be the plot of a financial thriller for an airport bookshop. But that really happened. First steps of something that, if demonstrated in the investigative theses, aspires to stand as a candidate to outclass the Vatican financial scandals since the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano. EXCELLENT SUSPENDED. DON CARLINO, FORMER SECRETARY OF BECCIU
Don Mauro Carlino, resident in the same Santa Marta of Pope Francis , and one of the suspended from the post of greater weight. Leccese, born in 1976, and since the end of July at the head of the Information and Documentation Office of the Vatican Secretariat of State (UID). He was appointed by the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin and his “second”, the Venezuelan, Edgar Pena Parra , the deputy for the General Affairs of the same body. Carlino has a very delicate and crucial role : he takes care of the daily relations of the Secretariat of State with the Dicastery for Communication, in particular with the Prefect Paolo Ruffini , and the Press Office. Vatican communication is, among the curial reforms initiated by Pope Francis, the one practically arrived at its destination. His office refers to the first section of the Secretariat of State. Carlino was secretary of Pena Parra ‘s predecessor in the Secretariat of State. That is the Sardinian Angelo Becciu . Chosen “Minister of the Interior” in 2011 by Benedict XVI and confirmed by Francis two years later. Becciu was then created cardinal in 2018 and promoted to prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Monsignor da Pattada is considered very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio . In the midst of the crisis that overwhelmed the Knights of Malta, Francishe did not hesitate to sack the cardinal patron, the American conservative Raymond Burke , by delegating Becciu as his special delegate to the order. In that case, the story smelled of ethical questions (the presumed distribution of condoms by the noble Catholic knights) as well as of conspicuous inheritances passed through Swiss accounts that stirred up the devout, aristocratic discussions. To settle the dispute, the substitute Becciu . ANTI- MONEY LAUNDERING NUMBER TWO SUSPENDED
Among the five Vatican employees who were cautiously suspended from work according to the service order issued by the Vatican Gendarmerie to all State personnel, Tommaso Di Ruzza is. Director of the anti-money laundering body Aif, and son-in-law of the former governor of the Bank of Italy, Antonio Fazio. From home to the Vatican, Di Ruzza was appointed to that operational role in 2015 on the proposal of President AIF, Rene Brulhart . Esteemed jurist, right-hand man of the Swiss Brulhart , according to official reports in recent years he has collected more than one result on the anti-corruption front. No shadows or noisy chatter ever emerged about him. Unlike its president.
Some press leaks about Brulhart, a lawyer from Freiburg – unaffected by the current Vatican investigations – last May pushed the Vatican Press Office to a clear denial of alleged involvement in a financial scandal between the Swiss country and Malaysia. No criminal proceedings are against Brulhart , they dictated from via Della Conciliazione. However, his salary for his service in the Vatican since November 2015 remains a mystery. According to press sources – never denied or confirmed – the sheriff of Vatican finances can count on a monthly salary of around 30,000 euros plus 5,000 for expenses. Often questioned on the point by journalists, he has always elegantly glossed over the answer. THE INQUIRY CONTINUES
The other three Vatican executives and administrators suspended from work as a precaution are employees of the Secretariat of State: Vincenzo Mauriello , Fabrizio Tirabassi , Caterina Sansone . This was reported by Emiliano Fittipaldi on Espresso. The journalist, who had ended up on trial for Vatilekeas 2 for having published confidential papers from the Cosea archives – the Pontifical commission for study and guidance on the organization of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See – together with another journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi , the lobbyist Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui and the manager of Cosea, the Spanish monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda . The two reporters were acquitted by the Vatican court which declared itself incompetent for lack of jurisdiction to judge them. Instead, the other two were condemned. THE JUDICIARY OF FRANCIS INVESTIGATES
The Vatican judiciary itself and the one that has moved in the last few hours authorizing searches in the offices of the First Section of the Secretariat of State and in those of the AIF. Everything – compiles an unusual, not detailed but exhaustively informative Vatican press release – to ascertain the “complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Religious Works (the Vatican bank IOR, ed) and by the Office of the Auditor General , regarding financial transactions completed over time “. In time
When it is not known. But the Leonine city is not peaceful. The expression “over time” refers to a management of the First Section of the Secretariat of State not conducted by the current regent, Archbishop Pena Parra . Hunting what the investigators are therefore going to L’ESPRESSO: OPAQUE REAL ESTATE REVOLUTIONS. AND CHEERFUL CHARITY
According to the Espresso journalist, Fittipaldi , the “financial transactions” under the investigators’ lens would concern some millionaire real estate sales abroad, in particular prestigious properties in London, and some English companies that would have participated in the business. Fittipaldireports his sources according to which the investigators are also analyzing some financial flows of the accounts on which the Pence of St. Peter passes, the charitable offers that every year arrive from the faithful from all over the world to the Pontiff for his charitable works. Management and movement of money have always been transparent THE RESIGNED AUDITOR AND THE KNOTS TO THE COMB
We must not forget some crucial aspects of a story that does not seem to be born yesterday. The role of Vatican Auditor General – one of the offices from which the complaints originated – has been vacant for about two years. When the manager, Libero Milone , was accompanied to the doors without too many compliments. Resigned by Monsignor Becciu for “irrefutable evidence”.However, Milone has never been tried in the Vatican. Rather, exchanges of reciprocal accusations in the press ensued. The Vatican accused the now former auditor of having exceeded his powers, to the point of appointing an external company to carry out investigative activities on the private life of exponents of the Holy See. After some time in silence, Milone– who in turn had undergone a search by the gendarmes in his offices – detailed: “They showed me two invoices made out to a single supplier, and accused of having committed a diversion of funds: therefore an embezzlement, as a public official. I saw that both invoices had my office stamp, but only one was signed by me. The other had a scribble as his signature. I wondered who had stamped and paid for it, and to whom ”. The answer that was given is that “one of the two was false. They were accounts for environmental investigations, for 28 thousand euros, to clean up the offices of any bugs. He also mentioned the controls on money laundering and the fight against corruption. His role has been vacant since September 2017. A deputy holds the post, acting in an office from which the complaint that led to the searches of the last few hours started. Together with the IOR offices, the Vatican bank that for years has undertaken a “cleaning” of suspicious or at least unauthorized accounts.DON’T FORGET PELL
Vacant and still the chair of the prefect of the Secretariat for the economy. Role held by the Australian George Pell from 2014 to 2017. His un-Roman managerial ways have never been digested in the Curia. Overwhelmed by an investigation into two sexual abuses allegedly committed by a priest then by a bishop, the cardinal is now in prison in Australia awaiting the latest judicial appeal. There are those, beyond the Walls, who invite you to read the palace and power games of the last few weeks in this sudden and controversial judicial proceeding. As soon as he took office, Pell discovered in the accounts a treasure of one billion euros hidden in the budgets of the Holy See. HOLY BUSINESS. BUT WITH JUDGMENT. BEHIND THE IDI
Not least. A Vatican-Idi-Usa intertwining. A request from Rome a year and a half ago arrived at the Papal Foundation in the United States: to support the three-year plan to relaunch the dermatological Institute of the Immaculate Conception in Rome which had gone bankrupt. According to the American media, the donation was to be around 25 million euros. The charity opposed it, deciding for a much lower amount. Theodore McCarrick is one of the founders of the Papal Foundation . At the time of the Vatican’s request for money it was still a powerful cassock. He moved influences and a lot of cash. The US cardinal has now lost his cape and has been dismissed from the lay state by Francis for bed stories. Someone under the dome moved money to make up for it
In US Catholics there remains the regret and anger for not having understood McCarrick ‘s double life . But if the elderly former cardinal today has plenty of time to rethink his facts, in Rome other cardinals between accounts and money could accuse more than one gloom.
That’s why Vatican Anti-Money Laundering is in the storm. In-depth analysis by Andrea Mainardi