the finances of The sky tend to be a shortcut to hell. Gangsters, bankers hanged, conspiracies, kidnappings, and other milestones of the black chronicle about the money of God confirm that no one is able to put them in order. After nearly seven years of the pontificate of Francis, the issues remain unresolved: the numbers are in red, the Secretariat of Economic remains descabezada —its leader, cardinal Pell is jailed for abuse of children and has not been replaced— and the ball of snow formed around the latest scandal of investment in London, qualified by the secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, from “opaque”, has made emerge a dirty war that has for years waged between different departments of the Vatican. The blast wave has reached, among others, the chief of security of the Pope Domenico Giani (forced to resign), several cardinals around who has organized a hunt and the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, consultant on the operation when he was still a lawyer. And just starting.
Francis announced at the beginning of his pontificate that the first reform, although it was not his favorite, it would be the economic. Seven years later, the Secretariat created remains descabezada; the auditor hired to review the accounts was dismissed, bullied and threatened with being jailed if not resign; the deputy director of the IOR, Giulio Mattietti, historical memory of the institution, was found in the street unable to enter the office from one day to another, and the Council for the Economy, headed by cardinal Reinhard Marx, are still to renew, despite having their terms expired last February. The question that almost nobody is capable of respond —and none of the respondents want to comment on the phone for fear of having it stepped in—, is who is at the forefront of finance. “We like to or not, but it is the way of the commander of this Pope. It works well,” says a senior official of the curia.
The core of the explosion, which generated this week is an unusual crossing of accusations between the secretary of State and who was his second, the charismatic cardinal Angelo Becciu (both resolved after the issue), this time in the so-called Peter’s pence: the instrument of the Holy see to collect the donations of the catholic world (currently about 150 countries). The agency was driven in 1870 when the Pope lost the Papal States and catholic nations had to contribute to the survival of the Vatican: a part goes to charity and the other —today is the 70%— to pay expenses of operation and other matters unspecified. But the major downfall of the collection, bound in recent years to the scandals of abuse in the united STATES and the decline of the faithful —has spent 101 million euros in 2006 to 51 in 2018— invited to increase the risk of the operations of investment to make up for the small profit. Here began a situation “very delicate”, according to one of the protagonists.
The Peter’s pence depends on the Secretariat of State, increasingly dispossessed of powers (left control the communication after the last reform) and subject permanently to rumors (the last puts its holder as the new patriarch of Venice). After the scandals of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), aka Vatican Bank, in the early 80s with the bankruptcy of the Banco Ambrosiano, they decided to reduce risk by diversifying the management of revenues between the company —whose revenues have also fallen by half— and the Secretary of State. Pius XII, as he recalled Becciu in his defence this week, as he opened the door to the real estate investments. So that this agency decided to do this in 2013 entering the capital of an investment fund that had purchased a luxury property in the london neighbourhood of Chelsea.
The vertigo of an operation in which he participated as a consultant to the current prime minister, Giuseppe Conte a month before being elected (as published by the Financial Times), crystallized by the end of 2018, in the Brexit. The secretary of State had to apply the output of more money —about $ 150 million— to take over the entire building and not to lose an investment which was in jeopardy. The IOR, allegedly alarmed by the large amount, ended up denouncing the situation to the prosecutor of the Vatican, which began an investigation that has unleashed a high psicósis among some members of the curia.
there Were records on the premises of the Secretariat of State, and leaked the names, surname and photo of the investigated, including that of Tommaso Di Ruzza, director of the AIF, the agency that deals with the prevention of money laundering at the IOR. “That’s part of the problem. The IDA and the bank are always struggling. And you may have a research in progress that have tried to camouflage with the complaint,” says a senior vatican who knows the detail of the finances of the Holy see in his office.
The chief of the Gendarmerie —and the security staff of the last three popes, Domenico Giani, resigned for the filtration of L’espresso, that retrotrajo to the Holy see to the times of Vatileaks. Francisco, although after you have been awarded, said it was a “mortal sin” and accepted his cease instantly. All of this while facing for the first time the specter of bankruptcy, as has been detailed over 3,000 classified documents to the journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi in the book Universal Judgment. A projection of something apocalyptic, taking into account the huge real estate holdings of the Holy see, but very useful to highlight a certain inability to manage it.
The APSA, the company that controls all the properties of the Vatican (4,400 property for a value of approximately 2,700 billion), and has become a bank of parallel, closed 2018 with an operating income -27%: the first time in its history that is situated in red numbers. The argument is that had to rescue with 25 million euros in the hospital, Istituto Dermopatico dell’immacolata (IDI) in bankruptcy (also by various frauds), and stood all the losses of the loan granted by the APSA in the same year as to not drag them on to the next. But no one in the Holy see trusts as of the management of an entity that claimed the arrest of its former director, monsignor Nunzio Scarano, for money laundering. “There are buildings that do not yield anything because they are hired to do favors that can then be cashed in one way or another, but that are detrimental to the economy,” explains a former head of the finances of the Holy see. Specifically, the 15%, according to the book Nuzzi, and half at prices to please. The average value of a rental is about 8 euros per square meter, a reduction from the market price of which ranges from 20% to 80% in some cases.
No doubt, however, that the crisis opened in the last few weeks goes beyond lor economic, and touch of full capacity service to the Church by a large group of its employees. The Pope has hired a new chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, the magistrate who decided to file one in 2012 in the case of the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, which is always linked to a dark frame around the IOR and the bankruptcy of the Banco Ambrosiano. A tough guy, yes, used to deal with the affairs of the mafia in Sicily, Calabria and Rome. A clear sign of the nature of the problem that drags the Holy see in that London, as it was already in the time of Roberto Calvi, turns out to be a darn city.