Sansone was among the Vatican employees suspended in the October raid of the Secretariat of State by Vatican prosecutors.
It is not clear whether the document listing Capaldo as a Vatican citizen was in error, or whether the architect had in fact been granted a Vatican passport, but Capaldo himself was required to countersign the document identifying him as a citizen of the Vatican.
Citizenship of the Vatican City State is sometimes afforded to lay employees working in the curia, but is only granted to those living within the territory of Vatican City itself, and forfeited upon departure. Vatican citizenship has also sometimes been granted to lay people as a personal favor by curial officials, because it confers several benefits, and the Vatican does not assess an income tax.
The Secretariat of State issues a small number of passports for travel in the name of the Holy See, reserved to clerics engaged on diplomatic service for the Holy See and carrying with them diplomatic immunity.
It is unclear what, if any, role Capaldo has in curial service, or why he might have been granted citizenship by the Secretariat of State if his job is to run a property investment in London.
Vatican citizenship could carry with it the benefit of access to banking privileges either of the Holy See's two financial institutions, the IOR, which functions as a deposit bank, and APSA, which acts as the Vatican's reserve bank and sovereign wealth fund. Such funds have been used in the past by private individuals seeking to skirt international banking regulations and external scrutiny of business deals.
According to the terms of an agreement reached with Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering watchdog, following a 2012 on-site inspection, exempting it from future inspections, APSA was required to close a number of accounts held for private individuals, including senior churchmen and Vatican citizens. Senior sources at APSA and the Vatican's Prefecture for the Economy told CNA that several of these accounts are still in operation but had been anonymized following the Moneyval agreement.
"Essentially, named accounts became private numbered accounts," one senior official told CNA. "Looking at the account ledgers, there is no way to tell the difference between an individual or institution as the account holder, it's just a number."
"They were supposed to all be closed down, and some of them were. But no one is being made to do anything - some of the accounts are still very much on the books."
Though apparently living in London, Capaldo is a major shareholder and former chairman of an Italian real estate company called Imvest, which describes its business as "buying and selling real estates, as well as managing the construction of buildings, blocks and lots mainly for individual clients" and "facility management and services of territories and properties for tenants, private clients and public institutions."
Among the company's principal shareholders is a private, family-owned Italian bank named Banca Finnat Euroamerica S.p.A., which is controlled by the Nattino family.
In 2017, Italian financial authorities froze 2.5 million euros is assets belonging to Giampiero Nattino, who was then the bank's chairman, saying that he had used personal accounts held at both IOR and APSA to commit a string of offences, including market manipulation, and had provided false information to Italian financial authorities.
In 2017, Italian police said Nattino had used Vatican accounts to carry out "a complex stock operation which resulted in criminal behaviour regarding market manipulation," despite the 2012 directive to APSA to close such accounts.
The police action followed a 2011 investigation by Vatican authorities into Nattino. At that time, investigators identified Nattio as the owner of a portfolio of accounts at APSA which they suspected were used for money laundering and market manipulation. Authorities questioned why he had banking privileges at APSA at all.
The balance of Nattino's accounts, some 2 million euros, was transferred to Switzerland shortly before the 2012 regulations were due to come into force. The Vatican investigation noted the "dubious origin and dubious final destination of the funds in the closing of" Nattino's portfolio.
Another large stakeholder in Capaldo's company Imvest is FEG International Assets SA, an anonymously incorporated company in Luxembourg formerly run by Gianluigi Torzi.
FEG and Torzi were named recently in a commercial fraud suit in London's High Court. Also named as respondents in the suit were Giancarlo Andreella and his former company, Odikon Services PLC, of which Torzi was also a director. Odikon, formerly known as Beaumont Investment Services PLC, it is currently suspended by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. Capaldo served as a director of Odikon Services until November 2018.
Imvest's largest shareholder is Meti Capital, of which Capaldo also a part owner. Meti Capital's largest owner (48% stake) is Yield Corporate Advisor Ltd., incorporated in Malta and owned by Andreella. Another major shareholder in Meti is Beaumont Investment/Odikon Services.
Imvest was raided by Italian authorities in May 2018 and several directors indicted on charges of preparation and submission of false budgets. Among those indicted was Alfio Marchini, a Roman real estate entrepreneur, and twice-failed candidate for Mayor of Rome for the 5 Star Party. That trial is pending.