Vatican police carry out new raids over botched London property venture

Vatican police carry out new raids over botched London property venture
The Vatican. File image.

Vatican police have conducted new raids as part of a corruption investigation into a botched London property venture, focusing on the Vatican prelate who signed the contracts for the deal involving a luxury apartment building.

Documents and computers were seized from the office and home of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, a long-time chief of staff in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, the Vatican said.

A press statement stressed that Perlasca, who was quietly transferred to a post at the Vatican’s high court as the investigation heated up last summer, enjoys the presumption of innocence.

The Vatican prosecutor authorised the raids and searches, which resulted from the interrogations of five people who were suspended after a previous raid, the statement said.

Police raided the secretariat of state and the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency, the Financial Information Authority on October 1.

Vatican prosecutors have not charged anyone. The pace and gaps in the case suggest the investigation partly involved a turf war in the Vatican.

The bulk of the Vatican prosecutor’s initial search warrant concerned the secretariat of state’s 2012 investment of €150m in a luxury apartment building in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood.

The mortgage turned out to be onerous, the property lost its value amid Brexit concerns and middlemen managing the venture were making millions from the Vatican in fees.

The secretariat of state in 2018 decided to buy the building outright but needed an extra €150m loan from the Vatican bank to buy out the other investors and pay off the mortgage.

The bank director and the auditor general’s office raised an alarm with Vatican prosecutors alleging the buyout looked suspicious, sparking the raids.

More on this topic

Two women arrested and charged following shopping centre brawl in ClareTwo women arrested and charged following shopping centre brawl in Clare

Officers investigate fake Garda incident in DublinOfficers investigate fake Garda incident in Dublin

Bomb squad called after 'suspicious device' brought to Dublin garda stationBomb squad called after 'suspicious device' brought to Dublin garda station

Woman due in court after alleged stabbing in Co MeathWoman due in court after alleged stabbing in Co Meath

More in this Section

UN secretary general warns pandemic is threatening international peaceUN secretary general warns pandemic is threatening international peace

Scientists develop test that can diagnose Covid-19 in ‘just over an hour’Scientists develop test that can diagnose Covid-19 in ‘just over an hour’

Brown hares and chickens ‘treated as gods when they first arrived in Britain’Brown hares and chickens ‘treated as gods when they first arrived in Britain’

Euro countries agree ‘unprecedented’ support packageEuro countries agree ‘unprecedented’ support package


Lifestyle

Our battle with back pain is an uphill struggle and possibly even more so since we’ve started to work from home to help delay the spread of coronavirus.Put your back into it: Exercise to beat back pain

Meet Tony the Turtle.How to explain Covid-19 to kids on the spectrum

A difficult situation for a family member, however, helped the up and coming chef to keep it all in perspective.Chef Adrian: 'Eat what makes you happy now'

More From The Irish Examiner