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Vatican financial-oversight agency fully backs suspended director

October 23, 2019

The Vatican’s Financial Information Agency (AIF) has given its full backing to its director, Tommaso Di Ruzza, who has been suspended in connection with a Vatican prosecutor’s investigation into suspicious financial transactions.

In an October 23 statement, the board of the AIF expressed “full faith and trust in the professional competence and honorability” of Di Ruzza, and expressed the hope that “potential misapprehensions will be clarified soon.”

Di Ruzza is one of five Vatican officials who were suspended after an October 1 raid on the offices of the AIF and the Secretariat of State. Top Vatican officials—including Pope Francis—were outraged that the identity of the suspended officials became public, and Domenico Giani, the head of the Vatican gendarmerie, which conducted the October 1 raid, was forced to resign—although he was personally absolved of any responsibility for publicizing the suspensions.

According to the statement from the AIF board, Di Ruzza was connected with the suspicious transactions only because he was investigating them “in connection with an ongoing institutional activity carried out by AIF based on a Suspicious Activity Report involving several foreign jurisdictions.” The statement added that Di Ruzza’s involvement was “properly institutional in conformity with the AIF’s governing statute,” and an internal investigation by the AIF found no evidence of wrongdoing by the director.

During the October 1 raid, police removed documents and electronic devices from offices of the Secretariat of State (where officials are believed to have engaged in speculative investments, using funds from the Peter’s Pence collection), and the AIF (where officials are responsible for monitoring Vatican financial transactions). If the AIF involvement in the case was appropriate—a very plausible claim, given the role of that office—then responsibility for any improper transactions would appear to fall on officials within the Secretariat of State.

 


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