Five Vatican financial officials suspended after prosecutor’s raid
October 02, 2019
Five Vatican officials—including the director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF)—have been suspended in the wake of a stunning October 1 raid by Vatican prosecutors on the offices of the AIF and the Secretariat of State.
Tomasso Di Ruzza, the director of the AIF, has been barred from his office, as has Mgsr. Mauro Carlino, who heads the information section of the Secretariat of State. Three other officers, holding lesser posts, have also been suspended.
On October 2, the Vatican Gendarmerie posted a notice, instructing offices that the five staff members should not be allowed into the Vatican because they are temporarily “suspended from service.” The Italian journal L’Espresso reported that the raids on Tuesday—in which police removed documents and electronic devices from the offices—was the result of an investigation into suspicious “real-estate transactions in the millions.” The transactions in question included sales of prime properties in London owned by the Vatican, L’Espresso said.
Di Ruzza was appointed by Pope Francis in 2015 as director of the AIF, serving under the president, Rene Brulhart. The AIF, ironically, was established in 2010 to monitor Vatican financial affairs, to guard against graft and money-laundering.
Prior to his current assignment in the information section of the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Carlino was secretary to then-Archbishop (now Cardinal) Angelo Becciu, who until June was the sostituto, or deputy secretary of state, in charge of the daily administration of Vatican affairs. (He is now prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.) According to L’Espresso, the suspicious transactions that are now under investigation date back to the period when Cardinal Becciu was sostituto.
The Vatican press office has not commented on the suspensions or on the raid, except to say that the raid was authorized by the Vatican’s top prosecutor, on the basis of an investigation that was triggered by concerns raised by the Institute for Religious Works (the Vatican bank) and the office of the Auditor General.
In September 2017, the Auditor General, Libero Milone, was forced to resign after then-Archbishop Becciu charged him with “spying on the private lives of his superior and staff, including me.”
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