Vatican City, Nov 5, 2020 / 07:00 am
Pope Francis has requested that responsibility for financial funds and real estate assets, including a controversial London property, be transferred out of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.
The pope asked for the management and administration of the funds and investments to be given instead to APSA, which functions as the Holy See treasury and sovereign wealth manager, and also administers payroll and operating expenses for Vatican City.
Pope Francis’ decision, outlined in an Aug. 25 letter to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, was made as the Secretariat of State continues to be at the center of unfolding Vatican financial scandals.
In the letter, made public by the Vatican Nov. 5, the pope asked for “particular attention” to be paid to two specific financial matters: “investments made in London” and the Centurion Global investment fund.
Pope Francis requested that the Vatican “exit as soon as possible” from the investments, or “at least dispose of them in such a way as to eliminate all reputational risks.”
The Centurion Global Fund is managed by Enrico Crasso, a longtime investment manager for the Vatican. He told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Oct. 4 that Pope Francis had asked for the fund’s liquidation last year after media reported its use of Vatican assets under its management to invest in Hollywood films, real estate, and utilities.
The fund also registered a loss of some 4.6% in 2018, while at the same time incurring management fees of roughly two million euros, raising questions about the prudential use of Vatican resources.
“And now we are closing it,” Crasso said Oct. 4.