After property scandal, Pope tightens money controls

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Pope Francis has issued a new decree making charity funds more transparent and tightening controls on Vatican finances after a scandal over a luxury London property deal.

The main target is the Secretariat of State, the most important part of the Vatican administration, which must relinquish management of its funds, investments and real estate and submit to supervision by two other economic offices.

Published on Monday and signed by the pope on Dec. 26, the decree takes effect over two months from Jan. 1.

In 2014, the Secretariat invested about 200 million euros ($244 million) as a partner in a deal to buy a luxury building in London. As the deal became onerous, it paid tens of millions of fees to middlemen in attempts to change the terms.

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former treasurer, told Reuters earlier this month there had been “enormous losses”. In September, the pope fired Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a former top Secretariat official.

An investigation into the London deal led to the suspension last year of five Vatican employees, four from the Secretariat. The Vatican has also accused the middlemen of extortion.

via REuters

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