The next year, 2018, Gamma used only two institutions to execute client trades, Zarattini and Sparkasse Bank Malta, which was also involved in the PDVSA money laundering scandal, according to multiple media reports.
The Times of Malta reported that "Sparkasse Bank was mentioned in the Panama Papers data leak as the Maltese institution of choice for infamous money-laundering Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca."
The CEO of Gamma Capital Markets is Alexander Vella. Vella is also the sole listed director at E2S Monitoring, a compliance firm which also lists its address as 259 St. Paul Street. E2S is the company that registered Centurion Global Fund with Maltese regulators in 2016.
On Dec. 5, Vella's picture and profile as CEO were listed on the Gamma website, but were erased sometime on Dec. 6, though CNA has retained December screenshots of Vella on the site, and archived copies of the listing. Vella is still listed as CEO on his personal LinkedIn page.
The formal nature of the relationship between the Vatican-backed Centurion Global Fund and Gamma is described in the fund's proposal document. Centurion is managed by a longtime Vatican financial advisor and Swiss resident Enrico Crasso, whose former company, Sogenel, is listed as the investment adviser for the fund's investment portfolio, while Gamma is listed as the fund manager.
Centurion's management fees in the prospectus are listed as 2.25% of assets under management annually and 20% of profits, and the fund has a seven year investment life cycle. The effective fee could, however, be higher, because among Centurion's listed investments are other private equity funds which could have similar fee structures, including EOS FYSIS Fund Sicav and TAGES Helios II.
According to Corriere della Serra, Grasso also played a "central role" in a controversial investment by the Vatican's Secretariat of State in London property development with the Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione.
CNA has reported that the Vatican's purchase of the property at 60 Sloane Avenue in Chelsea was arranged and is being managed through a complicated network of individuals and businesses linked to previous and current lawsuits and criminal investigations for fraud and money laundering. It is not clear what role Crasso is alleged to have played in the deal, into which the Secretariat of State has invested around $200 million.
Filippini, Gamma Capital's owner, is also connected to the bank that financed the London property deal. CNA has reported that the Secretariat of State financed the purchase of the London property with a loan against its accounts at the bank for which Fillipini was an officer: BSI.
The Holy See Press Office said on Wednesday that "investigations are in progress" regarding the Centurion Fund and other investments made by the Secretariat of State.
"Lines of enquiry which may help clarify the position of the Holy See with respect to the aforementioned funds and any others, are currently being examined by the Vatican judiciary, in collaboration with the competent authorities," the statement said.
Multiple phone calls from CNA to Centurion and Gamma went unanswered. An email requesting comment from Vella was not responded to by time of posting.
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Ed Condon is a canon lawyer and worked as Catholic News Agency's Washington DC editor until December 2020.