A monsignor who was very close to the Pope. The historical banker of the Vatican. The official of the Secretariat of State. The two financiers of the London palace deal. Here are the names behind the seized Swiss accounts. Millionaire accounts held or managed by Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, central figure within the Vatican Secretariat of State as responsible for investments. They have been kidnapped in recent days by the Swiss judiciary, at the request of the Vatican Promoter of Justice (the consideration of our prosecutor) who investigates the 300 million euro scandal of the purchase of the Sloane Avenue building in London. But not only.
Accounts in the name of the financier Raffaele Mincione also ended up seized. And then those of the manager of the Obolo di San Pietro and of the assets of the Secretariat of State, Enrico Crasso, former director of Credit Suisse and now founder and manager of the Centurion Maltese fund that holds fifty million euros still from the Vatican and invest, among other things, in Lapo Elkann’s Italia Independent and in the film on Elton John. Then there are the accounts registered or managed by the official of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State, Fabrizio Tirabassi. And finally the current accounts of the broker residing in London Gian Luigi Torzi, arrested Friday inside the Vatican after an interrogation. In total there is talk of tens of millions of euros but there are no official confirmations. Enrico Crasso, contacted by Corriere della Sera, he first replied via Whatsapp with a no comment to the request for clarifications, specifying only that the seizures against him concern only managed accounts. Then he added that he had offered maximum collaboration to the investigators and that he was confident that the investigations in progress would allow him to verify the absolute correctness of his work.
The yellow on the property of the London palace
The Vatican official Tirabassi and Monsignor Perlasca are being investigated by embezzlement, in competition with the financiers Torzi and Mincione for the complicated passage, between November and December 2018, of the Jersey-based company, the 60 Sa, which held the building, from the Athena fund Capital Global Opportunities managed by Mincione – in which he had invested since 2013 – to the Secretariat itself, which thus became the owner of 100% of the property. In this passage, Torzi intervened as an intermediary, with a Luxembourg company created ad hoc, Gutt sa. The peculation would concern the amount of 40 million euros paid by the Secretariat to Mincione to dissolve the Vatican’s investment in the Athena fund: this is a cash adjustment determined by the evaluation of the fund’s investments, starting with the Sloane Avenue building, which would have been overrated. Torzi collected another 15 million in April 2019, after four months of work, between brokerage commissions and the transaction to renounce the administration of the building, which Torzi himself would have obtained contractually by forcing – hence the accusation of aggravated fraud – the actual will of the Secretariat.
The collaboration of the Swiss authorities
in this context, the accusation of embezzlement accrues, alongside that of fraud, extortion and self-laundering. The seizures concerned, in various capacities, personal or company-related accounts, and accounts on which the suspects were empowered to operate, also for service reasons but which they may have used for personal purposes. The latter is the key step and to be demonstrated. In the meantime, several accounts have been seized from Credit Suisse, the historic bank that manages the secretariat’s reserved assets, estimated at over 500 million euros which are now managed (and safely) by the Italian Azimut. Credit Suisse is not subject to the ongoing investigation conducted by the Vatican, but collaborates with the authorities in compliance with current regulations, the declaration issued to Corriere della Sera from the Swiss institute. The collaboration between the Vatican and Swiss judicial authorities had been confirmed in recent days by the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice of Bern, who had confirmed the delivery of some documents and other materials to the Vatican authorities, on the basis of the international collaboration agreements. Names were missing.