According to L’Espresso, Vatican investigators referred to “a hypothesis” which they said “cannot be excluded” when they requested information from Swiss authorities.
The investigators reportedly summed up that hypothesis by saying: “Given that the links between the various internal and external personages at the Secretariat of State took place over a considerable length of time, through the arrangement of well-structured legal instruments with offices in different countries, including those on ‘blacklists,’ and with the realization of multiple criminal activities, it also amounts to the crime of criminal association to the detriment of the Holy See.”
L’Espresso reported that Crasso appeared to be a pivotal figure in that framework.
Crasso is the manager of the Centurion Global Fund, in which the Holy See is the principal investor. He began working with the Vatican in 1993.
According to L’Espresso, investigators alleged that Crasso repeatedly “contributed to using funds other than institutional funds and for unprofitable speculative investments.” They also reportedly highlighted “an evident conflict of interest and a possible risk of fraud to the detriment of the Secretariat of State.”
“It has not been possible to reconstruct the total commissions collected by him for his activity,” the investigators reportedly told Swiss authorities.
They also reportedly said: “Despite the fact that the Secretariat of State was alerted, it continued to trust him and did not take away from him the power to operate on his current accounts. The very bond that he has with the employees of the Secretariat of State deserves further study.”
Earlier this month, Crasso defended his stewardship of Church funds controlled by the Secretariat of State, saying that the investments he made were “no secret.”
In an Oct. 4 interview with Corriere della Sera, Crasso also denied managing “confidential” accounts for Becciu’s family.
Crasso was named in reports last month alleging that Cardinal Angelo Becciu used millions of euros of Vatican charity funds in speculative and risky investments, including loans for projects owned and operated by Becciu’s brothers.
On Sept. 24, Becciu was asked by Pope Francis to resign from his Vatican job and from the rights of cardinals following the report. In a press conference, the cardinal distanced himself from Crasso, saying he did not follow his actions “step by step.”
According to Becciu, Crasso would inform him of what investments he was making, “but it’s not that he was telling me the ramifications of all these investments.”
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Crasso appeared to corroborate Becciu’s remarks, saying they had met only five or six times since 2012. He said that Becciu also never applied “pressure” about what investments to make.
Crasso’s Centurion Global Fund is connected to several institutions linked to allegations and investigations of money laundering, a CNA investigation found.
The fund registered a loss of some 4.6% in 2018, while at the same time incurring management fees of roughly two million euros.
According to Crasso, “the Secretariat [of State] has always earned from our management.”
The Centurion Global Fund first made headlines in December 2019 for its use of Vatican assets under its management to invest in Hollywood films, real estate, and utilities, including investments in movies like “Men in Black International” and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman.”
Corriere della Sera reported that Centurion had raised around 70 million euros in cash, and that the Holy See’s Secretariat of State was the source of at least two thirds of the fund’s assets.