Rome Newsroom, Jan 12, 2021 / 13:00 pm
A Rome court has ruled that the search and seizure of money and other valuables from the home of a suspended Vatican official last November was “illegitimate” and ordered the cash to be returned, according to Italian media reports.
Fabrizio Tirabassi was a lay official at the Secretariat of State until his suspension, together with four other employees, in 2019. According to sources close to the Secretariat for the Economy, Tirabassi oversaw several financial transactions at the secretariat which are now under investigation.
In November 2020, Vatican gendarmes and Italian financial police searched two of Tirabassi’s properties, in Rome and in Celano, a town in central Italy where Tirabassi was born.
The search, which was focused on computers and documents, reportedly uncovered bundles of banknotes amounting to 600,000 euros ($713,000), around 200,000 euros of which was reportedly found in an old shoebox.
Police reportedly also found valuables worth an estimated two million euros.
According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Rome’s Court of Review found several technical “anomalies” with the order and execution of the search warrant, declaring it null and ordering the restoration of the funds to Tirabassi.
One of these irregularities, the report said, was that the search order came directly from the prosecutor’s office without going through a judge. The search was reportedly ordered to execute a letter rogatory, a formal request from a court of one country to a court of another, sent by the Vatican.
CNA has not independently confirmed the reports.