CNA Staff, Jan 20, 2021 / 12:00 pm
Investigators examining transfers from the Vatican to Australia have been unable to account for around $1.9 million sent between the two countries, local media reported on Wednesday.
Another $5.4 million in Vatican-linked transfers have been identified as being for legitimate expenses, such as travel, wages, and pension payments, The Australian newspaper said on Jan. 20.
Australian authorities have been investigating suspicious transfers from the Vatican to Australia for several months.
Australia’s financial crime watchdog acknowledged earlier in January that it had vastly overestimated the sum of what it said had been 47,000 Vatican transfers.
The Australian newspaper said on Jan. 13 that the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), a government agency, attributed the miscalculation to a “computer coding error.”
After a “detailed review” of its initial finding, AUSTRAC informed Australia's Senate that its initial finding of $1.8 billion was incorrect, and the real figure amounted to $7.4 million, sent in 362 transfers between 2014 and 2020.
Investigators at AUSTRAC, the Bank of Italy, and the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) -- also called the “Vatican bank” -- are conducting a joint investigation into the $7.4 million.
After finding that $5.4 million came from legitimate expenses, nearly $2 million still remains to be tracked.