Vatican City, Dec 21, 2019 / 16:20 pm America/Denver (CNA).
In recent weeks, CNA has been covering a Vatican financial scandal involving a multi-million-dollar investment fund, money donated by Catholics to support charity and Vatican ministries, and a pair of banks linked to money-laundering and bribery allegations.
The financial scandal is one of several unfolding at the Vatican, and covered by CNA. Having trouble keeping them straight? You’re not alone. This is the third in a series of CNA explainers, designed to help you keep track of the money trails in and out of the Vatican.
Here’s the Centurion Global scandal in a nutshell:
Centurion Global is an investment fund by which the Vatican Secretariat of State has invested tens of millions of dollars into Hollywood films, energy projects, and European startups. That investment, which has lost money while its managers have recouped millions in fees, involves fund managers connected to a Swiss bank that ran afoul of regulators and was shuttered - the same bank that partially financed a controversial London deal involving the Secretariat of State. The Centurion investment fund does its business with an unlikely pair of banks: both linked to a billion-dollar Venezuelan money laundering and bribery scandal. The Holy See announced earlier this month that the fund is under investigation.
Here are the major figures and developments in the ongoing story of the Centurion Global investment scandal:
Centurion Global Fund – An investment fund into which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State has invested large amounts of money, including funds that reportedly come from the Peter’s Pence collection, which are donated by Catholics around the world. The Vatican’s Secretariat of State is reported to be the source of at least two-thirds of the fund’s assets, which total around 70 million euro. The fund recently made headlines as reports indicated that it used the Vatican money to invest in Hollywood films, real estate, and utilities. In 2018, Centurion registered a loss of about 4.6%, while incurring management fees of about 2 million euros, raising questions about the use of Vatican – and donor – money. The fund has come under further scrutiny for links to two Swiss banks investigated or implicated in bribery and money laundering scandals. Centurion is currently under investigation by Vatican authorities.
Gamma Capital - Centurion’s formal investment manager, which shares an office in Malta, as well as a single phone number and email address, with Centurion. In 2017-2018, Gamma executed all of its client trades through two banks - Banca Zarattini and Sparkasse Bank Malta, both of which are reported to have ties to a money laundering scandal involving the Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA.