Beginning in 2014, the Vatican's Secretariat of State invested hundreds of millions of euros in a property development scheme in London. The secretariat bought a building at 60 Sloane Avenue in stages from Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione in a series of complicated maneuvers involving loans from Swiss banks, several of Mincione's own companies, and other intermediaries.
The building is now controlled by the Secretariat of State through a U.K. holding company, London 60 SA Ltd.
The London investment has become the subject of sustained scrutiny by Vatican financial authorities, and Pope Francis has said of the deal "What passed, passed: a scandal."
"They have done things that do not seem clean," Francis said in November last year. The pope's comments followed raids by Vatican City law enforcement in October last year, several officials at the secretariat were suspended from duty. Two of them served as directors of London 60 SA Ltd. and have now been removed.
The sole remaining director of the company is Luciano Capaldo, an architect and property developer. UK corporate filings have variously identified him as having UK, Italian, and Vatican citizenship.
Calpaldo is also a shareholder and former chairman of Imvest, a property development company listed in Rome.
In 2016, Imvest offices were raided by Italian financial police in connection to allegations of coordinated fraud, submission of false budgets, and false accounting.
The 2016 Imvest raids included 13 other businesses and several individuals invested in Imvest, chief among them Alfio Marchini, a wealthy Italian entrepreneur and politician.
Coincidentally, Futura Funds purchased the whole of Imvest's first bond issuance in 2013 - worth 30 million euros. The bonds were unsecured, and Imvest used all the proceeds to finance a loan to its own shareholder company: Astrim, Marchini's company.
In February, a representative for Optimum told CNA that Futura recouped its investment in Imvest "upon commencement of a lawsuit against Mr Marchini and related entities."
At present, "Futura Funds SICAV has no relationship with Mr Marchini, Imvest or Astrim, whereas Optimum Asset Management is in no way involved in this matter which is now closed," the representative said.
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