According to Domani, the IOR immediately move to fulfill the request and informed the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority. The ASIF has oversight power over the IOR, but not over the Secretariat of State.
In April, the ASIF labeled the operation as "feasible," considering that the IOR had enough money to carry it out. At the same time, the ASIF asked for adequate due diligence to comply with existing anti-money laundering laws.
In May, Mr. Gianfranco Mammì, IOR general director, asked Archbishop Edgar Peña, Sostituto of the Secretariat of State, to write down the request in a letter signed by him. According to Mammì, the Sostituto has “executive power,” and for this reason, Cardinal Parolin's letter was not enough for the IOR to carry out the operation as requested.
Archbishop Peña Parra met the Mammì requests and signed a letter on June 4 and another one on June 19 to explain the request for the loan.
On June 27, the IOR experts gave their green light to the financial operation. On June 29, the IOR presented the economic plan for the loan to the officials of the Secretariat of State.
But on July 2, Mammì changed his mind and reported to the Vatican prosecutor that Archbishop Peña Parra was not clear and would not disclose who would be the real beneficiary of the requested loan.
One Vatican source confirmed with CNA that Cardinal Parolin's letter is authentic and that the story penned by the newspaper Domani is accurate.
After Mammì's report to the public prosecutor, the Vatican police searched and seized the ASIF and Secretariat of State's office on Oct. 1, 2019.
Two days later, the news broke that the Vatican had suspended five officials: Msgr. Maurizio Carlino, Mr. Fabrizio Tirabassi, Mr. Vincenzo Mauriello and Mrs. Caterina Sansone of the Secretariat of State; and Mr. Tommaso Di Ruzza, ASIF director.
Later on, the Vatican also suspended Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, who led the Secretariat of State's administrative office from 2009 to 2019.
Despite no criminal charges were filed against any of them, all of these officials, except for Caterina Sansone, no longer work at the Vatican. Di Ruzza was not renewed as the ASIF's director, Tirabassi and Mauriello agreed on an early retirement and both Carlino and Perlasca were sent to their dioceses of origin.
Although Cardinal Parolin’s leaked letter has no relevance for the investigation, it does provide important context.
(Story continues below)
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One of them is that the Secretariat of State was aware that there were financial and ethical concerns regarding the 2011-2012 investment in the luxury real estate property at 60 Sloane Avenue in London, managed by 60 SA Company.
The Vatican Secretariat of State signed its purchase for $160 million with the Luxembourg-based Athena fund, owned and managed by Italian financier Raffaele Mincione, who acted as an intermediary.
When the Athena fund was liquidated, the investment was not returned to the Holy See. The Holy See risked losing all the money if it did not buy the building.
The ASIF examined the deal and then proposed restructuring the investment, excluding intermediaries and thus making the Holy See save some money.
At that time, the Secretariat of State asked the IOR for resources sufficient to close the old mortgage and allow a new one to conclude the purchase.
Since the investment was initially considered “good” by the IOR, it is still a mystery what led Mammì to change his mind and report the financial operation to the public prosecutor; especially when in September 2020, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) reportedly paid out the loan with Cheney Capital and contracted a new loan to safeguard the investment. This was the same operation suggested by Cardinal Parolin's letter.