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Italian court backs Vatican’s Torzi charges, excuses senior clerics

Gianluigi Torzi, the broker at the center of the Vatican property scandal, acted with insider help in his attempt to defraud the Secretariat of State, judges at Rome’s Court of Review concluded on Tuesday. The court also said Torzi relied on inside assistance at the Vatican department, but that senior clerics had been misled about Torzi’s schemes.

In an opinion issued June 15 confirming precautionary court sanctions placed against Torzi in April, Italian judges found a fumo boni iuris, or reasonable grounds of suspicion, to support charges made against Torzi by Vatican prosecutors, who have charged the businessman with fraud, money-laundering, extortion, and embezzlement.

Torzi was hired by the Secretariat of State to act as the Vatican’s broker in acquiring full ownership of a London building at 60 Sloane Avenue from investment manager Raffaele Mincione in 2018.

The plan structured by Torzi for the Vatican to take control of the London building was complicated: The Vatican would pay Torzi, who would pay Mincione. Ownership of the off-shore holding company which owned the building would then be transferred to Torzi’s Luxembourg-based holding company Gutt SA.

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