Podcast: The Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal, explained

The tower of the Institute for Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, is pictured at the Vatican May 6, 2016. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Last week, an Italian newspaper reported that Pope Francis had fired five employees who were under investigation for their involvement in the $200 million purchase of minority stake in a luxury apartment development in London’s upscale Chelsea neighborhood.

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After the Vatican’s Secretariat of State lost money on the investment, the Vatican’s middleman, Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione, advised the Vatican to buy the remainder of the property, which he owned. The Vatican’s judicial system is now investigating staffers who were involved in the deal for possible financial improprieties. Last year, Vatican police raided several offices in the Secretariat of State and the Vatican’s financial watchdog office and suspended the staff members.

America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell reported this week that the situation of the five employees was more complex than the premature, unjust firings the Italian newspaper had made them out to be.

On this episode of the Inside the Vatican podcast, Gerry and I explain the background of the London deal, what happened to the five employees, and what questions still remain.

Links from the show:

Has Pope Francis dismissed five Vatican employees linked to a property deal in London?

Vatican employees suspended as finance investigation continues

Vatican police raid Secretariat of State and finance watchdog offices

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]

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