• Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Middleman in Vatican real estate deal in UK arrested

Representational image (iStock)

By: PramodKumar

AN Italian financier who acted as Vatican intermediary in an opaque London property deal was arrested on Friday (5), the Holy See announced.

Gianluigi Torzi was said to be a middleman in 2018 during the final stages of the sale of a luxury apartment building on London’s Sloane Avenue to the Secretariat of State, the body charged with the Vatican’s diplomatic and political functions.

The deal is the subject of an investigation by Vatican prosecutors, with Pope Francis in November talking of suspected corruption.

“Today, the Office of the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican Tribunal, at the end of the interrogation of Mr Gianluigi Torzi… issued a warrant for his arrest,” the Vatican said in a statement.

He is accused of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money laundering, crimes that carry prison terms of up to 12 years under Vatican law.

The pope earlier this week issued a new law designed to boost transparency in the Vatican’s tenders, part of a series of measures to shine more light on the Holy See’s internal workings.

Last October, Vatican police carried out a raid on Secretariat of State offices, and five Vatican officials were suspended.

Torzi is being held by Vatican City’s gendarmerie police corps.

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