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Road to nowhere: Vatican made 7m investment in fake US highway

A now-indicted senior investment manager at the Vatican Secretariat of State duped the Holy See into investing millions with a fake proposal to fund a highway in North Carolina, according to Vatican prosecutors.

Enrico Crasso is one of 10 individuals indicted by Vatican prosecutors July 3 for financial crimes. Crasso, who for years oversaw the investment of millions of euros in Church funds, is charged with multiple crimes, including embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering, fraud, abuse of office, and forgery. A 488-page indictment released last week contains details of the charges against him and other Vatican figures.

One accusation against Crasso is that the investment manager secured a 7 million euro Vatican bond investment by pitching an investment proposal which had been falsified: While it purported to be a bond raising money to finance the construction of a highway in North Carolina, the money was actually used to fund an equity stake in three Italian companies.

Prosecutors also allege that the bond, not actually for highway construction, was sold by a U.S. based company Crasso owned, HP Finance, and that Crasso never disclosed that fact to Vatican officials.

During searches of both the secretariat’s offices and Crasso’s homes and other offices, investigators found two versions of a bond investment proposal, with the one presented to the Vatican bearing “substantial differences” from the original.

Read more at The Pillar

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