December 4, 2023

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Trial testimony: Vatican wanted to pay off London broker | Business

VATICAN Town (AP) — The previous head of the Vatican’s monetary watchdog testified Tuesday that the company introduced an intelligence investigation into a suspicious London actual estate deal right after it acquired about it but had no electric power to stop the Vatican secretariat of point out from concluding it.

The testimony by defendant Rene Bruelhart in the Vatican’s major fraud and extortion trial all over again place the highlight on Pope Francis and the No. 2 in the secretariat of point out, Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, who Bruelhart reported created very clear the offer had to be concluded “under any situation.”

The Vatican’s payment of 15 million euros to Italian broker Gianluigi Torzi to get complete ownership of the setting up is at the heart of the demo into the London assets, which has developed to consist of other monetary costs. Prosecutors accuse 10 persons, like Torzi, other Italian income managers and Vatican officials, of defrauding the Holy See and extorting it of millions, with losses totaling 217 million euros.

Numerous witnesses have previously asserted that Francis accepted the payment to Torzi, with one particular declaring the pope was so happy with the outcome of the deal that he paid for a celebratory dinner on May perhaps 2, 2019 for the Vatican officials who negotiated it.

The payout to Torzi was considered required since the Vatican secretariat of state had signed contracts with him at the conclude of 2018 providing him complete control in excess of the creating. When the Vatican recognized that it didn’t personal the setting up, a final decision was manufactured to negotiate an exit offer for Torzi fairly than sue.

The issue in the Vatican was that Torzi may well market the constructing, leaving the Vatican empty handed after investing 350 million euros into it, and that the Holy See was in a weak place to try out to sue, presented the contracts it experienced signed. Pena Parra was also involved about reputational injury if the losses turned community, Bruelhart testified.

Bruelhart is accused of abuse of office for obtaining allegedly unsuccessful as president of the Money Information and facts Authority to file a formal grievance with Vatican prosecutors when he realized about the London deal on March 7, 2019, and of getting unsuccessful to cease the payment to Torzi.

Bruelhart testified Tuesday that the company experienced no authority to supervise the secretariat of point out, considerably considerably less stop it from shelling out off Torzi. But he claimed the agency promptly did its work when the secretariat of state submitted a suspicious transaction report about the deal on March 22, 2019.

He claimed the identical working day he figured out from Pena Parra about the deal on March 7, 2019, he fulfilled with Francis and the pope “confirmed the want to assist the secretariat of state.” He explained he briefed Francis on the development of the agency’s intelligence investigation just after it was launched afterwards that month.

Later on, in April of that 12 months, the Vatican’s London-primarily based law business encouraged the Holy See of the challenges if it wanted to continue negotiating an exit deal with Torzi. But Bruelhart advised the Vatican tribunal: “The determination was evidently and exclusively with the secretariat of state. AIF had no supervision in excess of the secretariat of state.”

And he stated in his meetings with Pena Parra on April 16, 2019, he recognized “that the secretariat of point out preferred to move forward below any conditions.”

Pena Parra and his superiors have not been charged. Also escaping indictment was Pena Parra’s deputy, who really signed the contracts with Torzi he has turned into the prosecution’s star-witness.

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