God’s Bankers: The Vatican finance scandal draft rankings™

A Pillar Explainer

Vatican City State prosecutors have not yet said when they plan to take any of the figures in their sprawling Vatican financial investigation to an actual criminal trial. But eventually they’ll draft somebody to the Big Courtroom Dance. 

So to get ready, The Pillar brings you the Vatican Finance Scandal Draft Rankings™

Our experts tell you who’s most likely to get drafted into a courtroom, where they’ll end up answering questions — or at least facing them — from Vatican prosecutors bent on scoring a win with the judges. 

Plus: Who’s accused of what, who’s already in court where, and who is suing - or threatening to sue - whom.

Consensus number one draft pick:

Gianluigi Torzi

It’s not a lock, but experts say businessman Gianluigi Torzi is the obvious number one draft pick, if Vatican prosecutors are looking for easy buckets and a guy with an extremely versatile rap — er, stat— sheet.

Who? 
The businessman who acted as the Vatican Secretariat of State’s broker in the final stage of the London property deal, Torzi has numerous links to other businessmen also caught up in the Vatican financial scandal. 

Before he was asked to finalize the purchase of the London building for the Secretariat of State, Torzi was involved in several deals with the building’s owner Raffaele Mincione, including lending one of his companies millions of euros, while Mincione invested Vatican funds in a debt product sold by Torzi which had ties to organized crime.

Accused of what?
Torzi is accused by Vatican prosecutors of defrauding the Holy See in the course of the London property deal. Vatican charges against him include money laundering, extortion, embezzlement and fraud.

He is accused of attempting to extort 15 million euros from the Vatican in exchange for control of the building, which they had already paid 350 million euros for.

Torzi is also facing charges in Italy, including tax evasion, corporate fraud, and several other financial crimes.

Torzi, by name and through his companies, has also been accused of misappropriating millions of euros of Italian government bonds from an Italian insurance company, NET Insurance, Lawyers for the company have called it a “sophisticated fraud.” 

The NET insurance charges appear to be linked both to Torzi’s business dealings with Mincione and his alleged attempts to extort the Vatican.

What he said:
Torzi has insisted that he acted in good faith in all his dealings with the Vatican, and that charges against him in Vatican City are the result of a “gross misunderstanding.”

Torzi has also said the structure of the London property deal was specifically approved by senior officials at the Secretariat of State, including Msgr Alberto Perlasca, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, and Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

He has accused Fabrizio Tirabassi, a lay official in charge of investment administration at the secretariat, of threatening his family.

Torzi has also accused Tirabassi of offering him prostitutes and of boasting that he routinely blackmailed senior officials at the Secretariat of State, including Archbishop Peña Parra and Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

In court where?
Torzi is involved in several legal proceedings in different countries. 

This year, he lost a UK court case related to the NET Insurance fraud and was ordered to pay £10 million. Last month, he won an appeal to lift a UK court injunction, placed at the request of Vatican prosecutors, which prevented him accessing several of his bank accounts.

He and his companies have also been named in commercial fraud suits in the UK.

Torzi was arrested in the Vatican in June 2020, and released after 10 days, even though he never posted the required 3 million euro bond, and thus has effectively skipped bail in the Vatican.

This week, an Italian magistrate issued a warrant for Torzi’s arrest. He is believed to be in London; Italian financial police are seeking UK cooperation to secure his arrest.   

The big sleeper pick

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

After a surprise result in an Italian courtroom this week, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has come out of nowhere as a plausible draft pick for Vatican prosecutors. Until Monday, few expected the cardinal, with an international flair to his game and sense for finding the open lane, would ever get drafted into a Vatican courtroom — but the long-shot pick has now emerged as a potential draft-day spoiler.

Who?
Cardinal Parolin was appointed Secretary of State by Pope Francis in 2013, succeeding Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Until December 2020, the secretariat had such a wide range of responsibilities for managing Vatican finances, accounts, and investments, including charitable funds like Peter’s Pence, it was referred to as the “third Vatican bank.”

In December 2020, the pope stripped the Secretariat of State of its financial portfolio, ordering the department to turn over control of all bank accounts and investments to APSA.

Accused of what?
In addition to having final responsibility for the financial dealings of his department, Parolin has been accused, or publicly admitted, personal involvement in some of the most controversial transactions currently under scrutiny.

According to UK court documents, Parolin was specifically informed of and approved, in writing, various stages of the London property deal as structured by Torzi.

Following the final purchase of the London building, in 2019 Parolin personally intervened to pressure the head of the IOR, a bank in Vatican City, to approve and fast-track a loan of 150 million euros to cover the mortgage on the property which the secretariat had agreed to assume along with the building.

The IOR subsequently flagged the deal, and the secretariat’s loan application, to Vatican financial police, triggering the current investigation.

A ruling from an Italian judge earlier this week noted that Vatican prosecutors now contend that the secretariat’s purchase of the building— an investment of hundreds of millions —  was made outside of the department’s authority.

Parolin has previously assumed personal responsibility for securing a controversial 50 million euro loan from APSA, the Vatican’s central bank, to fund a for-profit investment in the IDI,  a Catholic hospital which had gone bankrupt after serial embezzlement and fraud left it in debt more than 800 million euros. 

The APSA loan secured by Parolin seems to violate Vatican financial regulations. Parolin also took responsibility for attempting to secure a donation from the Papal Foundation, an American-based charity, to help cover the loan at APSA.

What he said:
Despite his personal involvement in attempting to pressure the IOR into approving a loan of 150 million euros for the London deal, and despite having apparently given his written approval for the purchase plan for the building suggested by Torzi, Parolin said in October 2019 that “The deal was rather opaque and now we are trying to clear it up.”

When asked about how the Catholic Church's money is managed, Parolin replied "I think it is well administered."

In court where?
Parolin has been named in the UK lawsuits brought by Raffaele Mincione against the Secretariat of State. He has not been formally charged by Vatican prosecutors and he has not been named as a suspect in any alleged conspiracy to defraud the Vatican.

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First round draft picks

Cardinal Angelo Becciu

The Sardinian garnered early attention from bookmakers. But while still a blue chip prospect and draft frontrunner, Becciu has not had much playing time since losing his rights and status as a cardinal last year, and other figures have begun to catch up to Becciu’s early lead.

Who?
In 2011, Archbishop Angelo Becciu was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as sostituto at the Secretariat of State, a role which functions as the day-to-day manager of the department and de facto papal chief of staff for the curia. 

In that role, Becciu repeatedly clashed with Cardinal George Pell, who was in charge of cleaning up Vatican finances from 2014-2017. Becciu unilaterally acted to cancel a planned external audit of curial finances arranged by Pell, and, in 2017, ordered the Vatican’s auditor general to resign or face prosecution on charges of “spying” on his private financial dealings.

In June 2018, Becciu was made a cardinal and became head of the Vatican department that oversees the process of canonizing saints. 

In September 2020, Pope Francis forced Becciu to resign his office, and his rights as a cardinal, after the pope was reportedly presented with a dossier of evidence of financial misconduct against him by Vatican prosecutors.

Accused of what?
Becciu has been accused by Italian media of steering Church funds and investments to companies and entities either controlled by or with links to his members of his family.

The cardinal has been linked to a series of financial scandals at the Secretariat of State, including some involving Church-run hospitals, along with the London property deal.

Becciu has also been accused of attempting to shield investments from the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy. 

Under Becciu’s watch, the money the Vatican invested with Mincione was reportedly borrowed from Swiss banks, including one later closed for money laundering violations. The money was borrowed against the value of other Vatican deposits at the banks.

After Becciu was made a cardinal and promoted out of the Secretariat of State in June 2018, he is reported to have continued to exercise sway over the financial dealings of his former department, including authorizing payment to Cecilia Marogna, a self-described “security consultant” and political analyst who has been charged by the Vatican with embezzlement.

Gianluigi Torzi has asserted that Becciu is the subject of blackmail by a lay official at the Secretariat of State, Fabrizio Tirabassi.

What he said:
Becciu has denied any and all accusations of financial misconduct and insisted that he has always acted with total loyalty to the office of the pope and the institutional Church.

Becciu has described the London deal as “accepted practice” and the arrest of Gianluigi Torzi as “no earthquake.”

In court where?
Becciu has launched a lawsuit against several Italian media outlets, claiming that reports they published after his sacking by Pope Francis had deprived him of the chase to be elected pope in a future conclave in which Becciu claimed to be a potential front-runner. 

Lawyers for Cardinal Becciu have twice threatened legal action against The Pillar for its coverage of the cardinal in relation to Vatican financial scandals.

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Cecilia Marogna

Cecilia “CeCe” Marogna — an international woman of mystery — has already been indicted for money laundering, and is expected eventually to face trial in the Vatican City State, even if she doesn’t actually show up for it.

Who?
Marogna began her association with the Secretariat of State in 2015, when she says she wrote to Cardinal Angelo Becciu, offering her services as a security and geo-political consultant, which he accepted. 

In a recent television interview, Marogna claims to be a “self-taught” expert in these fields and has described her role for the Secretariat of State as a “kind of spy.”

Accused of what?
Marogna is facing charges of aggravated embezzlement in Vatican City related to hundreds of thousands of euros in Church funds, paid to her through her Slovenian-registered company Logsic. Slovenian authorities have also opened a case against her for money laundering. 

She has been accused of misusing Vatican funds intended for humanitarian purposes, spending them instead on items like designer label handbags and stays at luxury hotels.

According to media reports, Cardinal Becciu continued to authorize payments to Marogna from the Secretariat of State even after he left the department.

In February, it was reported that Marogna’s cell phone had been passed to Vatican City’s chief prosecutor, Alessandro Didi, in January. The handover came after Marogna’s arrest in Milan in October, but it also came after the Vatican dropped its extradition request for her to be handed over to face trial.

What she said:
Both Marogna and Becciu have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to payments made to her by the Secretariat of State. 

Some payments suggest that Marogna was used as a back-channel in sensitive negotiations with groups hostile to the Church, including ransoming kidnapped religious sisters and clergy.

In an October interview, Marogna said her work for the secretariat had also involved the use of London-based brokers, adding that the sums of money she was paid - 500,000-600,000 euros - was “small change.”

“I can also tell you that Becciu and I weren’t the only ones running certain businesses,” she said, mysteriously.

In court where?
Marogna was arrested Oct. 13 in Milan on a warrant issued by Vatican City prosecutors through Interpol. 

In January, a Vatican City court dropped its petition to have Margona extradited from Italy. Vatican prosecutors have said a trial for Marogna is “imminent” and Pope Francis subsequently changed Vatican City law to allow defendants to be tried in their absence if they refused to show up in court.

Fabrizio Tirabassi

His critics says Tirabassi is not the typical Vatican investment manager, but his pedigree as a courtroom draft pick is undeniable. They say he blackmails Vatican officials, threatens rivals’ families, and celebrates business deals by paying for parties with prostitutes. And in 2020, Italian police found millions in cash and jewels in his houses.

Who?
Fabrizio Tirabassi is a lay official who worked, until October 2019, in the administrative office of the Secretariat of State, overseeing investments.

In November 2018, during the weeks Tori was working to finalize the transfer of ownership of the London property to his Luxembourg holding company, Gutt SA, Triabassi was made a director of Gutt by Torzi for several weeks, before being removed again when the building was fully acquired by Gutt. Company records examined by The Pillar show Tirabassi used his address at the Secretariat of State on corporate filings.

Accused of what?
According to UK court documents, Vatican prosecutors allege Tirabassi was part of a conspiracy to defraud the Secretariat of State, dating back years.

Torzi says Tirabassi threatened him and his family over the London property deal. Torzi has also accused Tirabassi of offering him prostitutes to celebrate business deals, and that he “openly admitted blackmailing several prelates of the Church, including Cardinal Angelo Beccui.”

In court where?
In October 2019, Tirabassi was one of several employees at the secretariat to be raided by Vatican police in connection with the investigation into the London property deal.

After he was suspended from Vatican job following a police raid, media reports have claimed that he is either still suspended, or has been given early retirement. There have been no reports that he has been fired. 

In November 2020, Italian police raided two of Tirabassi’s homes, seizing documents and computers, along with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash found in shoeboxes, and millions of euros in jewels and other valuables. Italian financial police and Vatican gendarmes were later ordered to return the money and valuables, which were ruled to have been outside the terms of the search warrant and had been seized illegitimately.

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Solid second rounders

Raffaele Mincione

Mincione has a lot of name recognition, but there is little indication Vatican prosecutors are focused on the investment manager, and after several searches of his property, no charges have been filed against him. He is, however, the man with the money — hundreds of millions of euros of it — and prosecutors seem increasingly focused on finding a way to get it back.

Who?
Mincione was first introduced to the Secretariat of State in 2014 by Enrico Crasso. The secretariat deposited 200 million euros, borrowed from Swiss banks against Vatican funds held on deposit there, in the Athena Global Opportunities Fund, created by Mincione as a vehicle for Vatican investment.

Mincione invested millions of Vatican funds into his own companies and speculative investment projects, including the London building at 60 Sloane Avenue, which he owned through a series of nesting holding companies in the Channel Islands.

In June, 2018, Micione also invested 10 million euros of Vatican funds in Sierra One SpV, a bond product packaged and sold by Sunset Enterprise Ltd., a company then under the control of Torzi. The Sierra One bond included debt products issued by a company linked to organized crime

Torzi, in turn, used his companies to lend Mincione tens of millions of euros during the same period.

After initially investing the Vatican in a 45% stake in the London building, when the Secretariat of State decided to withdraw its investment from Mincione, he agreed to sell the balance of ownership in the building to the Vatican in exchange for the secretariat forfeiting the entire balance of its initial 200 million investment, plus an additional 40 million euros. The secretariat also had to assume the 150 million euro mortgage attached to the building.

Accused of what?
According to court documents in the UK, Vatican prosecutors allege that Mincione is part of a conspiracy to defraud the Vatican, dating back to the Secretariat of State’s initial 200 million euro investment.

In June of 2020, Vatican state media also called Mincione’s management of Holy See funds “speculative” and a “conflict of interest.”

What he said:
Mincione has said that he acted in good faith in all his dealings with the Vatican. He has also insisted that, despite their other business together, he had no part in the selection of Torzi to represent the Secretariat of State’s interests in the final stage of the London property deal.

Mincione has previously told Italian media that he and Torzi did not know each other well and that their connection was strictly as two Italians doing business in London.

In court where?
Despite the apparent allegations of Vatican prosecutors against Mincione, disclosed in the decision of a UK judge in a case against Torzi, no formal charges have been announced against the businessman in the UK, Vatican City, or Italy,

Mincione has twice been served with a search and seizure warrant by Italian police acting on a request from Vatican prosecutors, who took mobile phones and iPads, and Italian media have reported that Swiss bank accounts belonging to Mincione have been frozen at the Vatican’s request.

Mincione and his companies have brought two separate UK lawsuits against the Secretariat of State and one of its holding companies over the fallout of the London property deal. 

In a suit filed in June 2020, Mincione asked that the court grant him declaratory relief against the Secretariat of State and rule he "acted in good faith” in his dealings with the Vatican. Mincione’s lawyers argue that the Holy See may be trying to nullify the sale of the building.

Mincione has also filed a UK lawsuit against the GEDI Group, the Italian publisher of the newspaper La Repubblica, whom he claims have “gravely damaged [Mincione’s] personal and professional business reputation,” and that the businessman has “suffered considerable distress and embarrassment” from their coverage of him.

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Enrico Crasso

Crasso looms large in the Vatican’s investment world. He has a penchant for being in the room where things happen. In fact, Crasso has a reputation as a playmaker: he tends to distribute the ball right before others make big plays. He has not yet been charged with any crime, but Vatican prosecutors certainly seem interested in his ability to connect — and a good point guard often goes underappreciated by those only focused on the basket.

Who?
Enrico Crasso is a former banker at Credit Suisse, one of two banks used by the Secretariat of State to secure hundreds of millions of euros in loans which it invested with Raffaele Mincione. 

It was Crasso who introduced the Vatican to Mincione, and to Gianluigi Torzi, who acted as middleman for the final sale and was later arrested for money laundering and extortion.

After leaving the bank, Crasso set up his own company, Sogenel, which ran the Centurion Global Fund, in which the Secretariat of State invested further millions of euros. 

Crasso was present at a meeting with Torzi in a Roman hotel in 2018, during the final stage of the sale of the London building, at which point Torzi is alleged to have extorted the Vatican for control of the holding company which owned the building.

Accused of what?
According to UK court documents, Vatican prosecutors allege that Crasso, along with Fabrizio Tirabassi and Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, acted outside his legal authority regarding investments “in order to defraud the secretariat.”

Torzi has accused Crasso of threatening his life and family, and of attempting to force Torzi to sell control of the London building to him to be run through the Centurion fund, which he allegedly described as “completely unregulated with respect to alternative investment polices.”

In addition to his role in the London property deal, Crasso’s management of Vatican investments in the Centurion fund have attracted scrutiny.

While the fund is best known for investing Vatican money in several Hollywood films, including “Rocketman” and “Men in Black International,” the fund has links to several financial institutions linked to accusations of money laundering.

In 2019, the Holy See press office confirmed that the Centurion Global fund was under investigation by Vatican financial authorities who were pursuing “lines of enquiry which may help clarify the position of the Holy See with respect to the aforementioned funds and any others, are currently being examined by the Vatican judiciary, in collaboration with the competent authorities.”

According to Crasso, in December 2019, Pope Francis ordered the fund liquidated after media reports on its investments.

What he said:
Crasso has defended his stewardship of Vatican investments, insisting that Centurion was a profitable venture. He has publicly commented on the fund along with Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

After his forced resignation, Becciu said that, although he had authorized the investments managed by Crasso, he was unaware of the details and “it’s not that [Crasso] was telling me the ramifications of all these investments.”

Crasso responded that “Centurion was known in the Secretariat [of State]” and that Becciu and other officials “knew very well” what investments were made. Crasso also said that secretariat officials at times suggested specific investments to him.

In court where?
Despite being named by Vatican prosecutors as a conspirator in UK court documents, Crasso has not been publicly charged with a crime. However, in October 2020, a Swiss court granted Vatican investigators full access to banking documentation related to Crasso, including those held by Az Swiss & Partners, which owns Crasso’s company Sogenel, which managed the Centurion fund. 

The court ruled that “when foreign authorities ask for information to reconstruct criminal asset flows, it is generally considered that they need the entirety of the relative documentation, in order to clarify which persons or legal entities are involved.”

Acting on a search warrant sought by Vatican prosecutors, Italian police raided the home and office of Crasso in November 2020.

Crasso accused Torzi of “slander,” following the release of the UK court documents, and accused the businessman of trying to put him “in a bad light” with the pope. Crasso’s lawyer claims to have filed a lawsuit against Torzi in Vatican City.

Undrafted free agents?

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra

Peña Parra is accused of authorizing several unscrupulous transactions. But he sits between those doing the deals, on the one hand, and Cardinal Parolin, on the other. If prosecutors decide picking Parolin might be too big a gamble, they may opt for Peña Parra as a less eye-catching but safer bet.

Who?
Archbishop Peña Parra succeeded Cardinal Becciu as sostituto at the Secretariat of State in 2018, and oversaw the Vatican’s separation from Raffale Mincione. According to previous news reports, it was Peña Parra who approved the selection of Gianluigi Torzi to act as middleman for the final purchase of the London building at 60 Sloane Avenue.

Accused of what?
According to documents presented to a UK court, Peña Parra authorized Msgr Alberto Perlasca to act with power of attorney in closing out the secretariat’s dealings with Mincione, and he specifically approved the complicated restructuring of shares in Torzi’s holding company, Gutt SA, which led to charges of extortion and fraud against Torzi.

According to Torzi, Fabrizio Tirabassi, who worked for Peña Parra at the secretariat, boasted of blackmailing the archbishop.

Peña Parra has not been accused of having been part of the conspiracy to defraud the Vatican alleged by Vatican prosecutors, according to UK court documents.

What he said:
Archbishop Peña Parra has not made any notable public statements related to the Vatican financial scandal.

In court where?
There are no outstanding legal cases or charges naming Peña Parra as a subject.

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Msgr. Alberto Perlasca

Msgr. Perlasca spent a decade making plays happen behind the scenes at the Secretariat of State before a transfer and a change of position took him to the Vatican’s canonical high court — as a prosecutor. Since being invited in for questioning by investigators last year, he’s widely reported to be coaching the Vatican gendarmes on his old department’s playbook.

Who?
From 2009-2019, Perlasca served as head of the Administrative Office of the Secretariat of State, where he worked under the supervision of Cardinal Angelo Becciu and later Archbishop Peña Parra. 

In that role, Perlasca was responsible for overseeing the work of Fabrizio Tirabassi and had direct control of Vatican bank accounts and investments held in different countries, including the secretariat’s dealings with Raffaele Mincione. He was also a member of the managing boards of the Vatican’s Fondo Pensioni, the Fondo Assistenza Sanitaria and the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in Rome.

According to documents produced during a UK court hearing, Perlasca was granted explicit power of attorney by Peña Parra to act of behalf on the secretariat in financial affairs, and specifically approved the series of transactions which let to the charges against Torzi.

In 2019, he was transferred to the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s supreme canonical court, and made Substitute Promoter of Justice - deputy chief prosecutor. In February 2020, Perlasca’s home and office were raided by Vatican police over his work on the London property deal and he was suspended from his role at the signatura.

Since then, sources at the court have told The Pillar that Perlasca’s office has been cleaned out and he has been sent back to his home diocese of Como.

Accused of what?
Vatican prosecutors have alleged Perlasca was part of a conspiracy to defraud the Holy See over a period of years through the management of investments at the Secretariat of State, including through its dealings with Mincione, Torzi, and Crasso. 

Perlasca is also accused of having acted outside his legal authority when authorizing parts of the London deal. However, there has been no indication of Perlasca’s alleged motive, or how he might have personally benefited from any such conspiracy.

What he said:
Perlasca has not made any recent public statements about the London deal, or the wider Vatican financial scandal.

In court where?
While named as a key member of the conspiracy by Vatican prosecutors, Perlasca is not known to have been formally charged or arrested by Vatican authorities. He is widely reported to be the source of evidence currently being used by prosecutors in their pursuit of other suspects in the investigation, including Cardinal Becciu.

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Last Chance U?

Giacomo Capizzi 

Who?
Capizzi is a frequent business associate of Torzi, and the two have collaborated for years on several business ventures, including those linked to the investment of Vatican funds in financial instruments linked to organized crime and allegations of fraud.

Company records examined by The Pillar show that, on Dec. 31 2018, one month after the completion of the London building’s sale to the Vatican, the Athena Global Opportunities Fund, the fund run by Mincione to invest the Secretariat of State’s money, held 3.9 million euros of investment in Sierra One SPV SrL, a financial special purpose vehicle made up of receivables owed to Italian hospitals and related vendors.

The Sierra One bond was valued at 100 million euros, and was put together by Sunset Enterprise Ltd., which at that time was controlled by Torzi. Capizzi was Sierra One’s administrator.

Included within the Sierra One bond are debts issued by facility management company Esperia SpA, which was ordered into forced liquidation for alleged ties to a Camorra mafia crime family in July 2018

Capizzi is also the CEO of Meti Capital, a company in which Torzi is invested. He is also CEO of Imvest, an Italian property development company listed in Rome. 

In 2016, Imvest offices were raided by Italian financial police in connection to charges similar to those outlined by the Italian judge this week, including fraud, submission of false budgets, and false accounting.

Accused of what?
Issuing a warrant for Torzi’s arrest earlier this week, an Italian magistrate named Capizzi as a co-conspirator in alleged crimes of tax evasion and fraud, including generating invoices for non-existent transactions.

The magistrate said he found that evidence presented by prosecutors showed “the serious crimes in dispute are not the result of occasional or sporadic circumstances, but of a real economic strategy aimed at defrauding the tax authorities through corporate connections, legal screens and specific professional collaborations.”

“The danger of the repetition of crimes of the same kind as those for which the suspects are [now being] prosecuted must be considered absolutely concrete and current,” the judge wrote.

In court where?
When an Italian judge issued an arrest warrant for Torzi earlier this week, he also included a legal injunction against Capizzi, preventing him for serving as either a corporate officer or an accountant for a period of six months while prosecutors continue with their case.

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Luciano Capaldo

Who?
Capaldo is an Anglo-Italian architect and the only currently listed director of the London holding company through which the Vatican controls the building at 60 Sloane Avenue.

Interestingly, although company records currently list him as having UK and Italian citizenship, when he was first listed as a director, filings identified him as a Vatican citizen. Given the forms had to be signed by both Capaldo and the Secretariat of State, that would be a remarkable typo to slip through. So far, the Secretariat of State has declined to answer question about why, if, and by whom Capaldo would be given the rare privilege of a Vatican passport.

Capaldo was also previously the chairman of Imvest from 2017 to 2018.

He stepped down from Invest for “personal and family reasons,” on Nov. 26, 2018 —the same week the Vatican finalized its purchase of the London property.

Before that, Capaldo was listed as company secretary of Odikon Services from May to November 2018, and an investor in Meti as of December 2017. Odikon was a company belonging to Gianluigi Torzi and the subject of a lawsuit for fraud in London’s High Court.