Italian PM Conte distances himself from Vatican-backed fund links

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Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte, sought to distance himself from revelations that a Vatican-backed fund, now at the centre of an investigation into suspicious financial transactions, was behind a consortium that hired him in connection with a deal weeks before he took office last year.

On Monday, the Financial Times reported that the lead investor in the consortium that employed Giuseppe Conte was a Luxembourg-incorporated fund. The fund, Athena Global Opportunities, was backed entirely with $200m held in Swiss bank accounts by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, the Holy See’s powerful central administrator. Some of that funding was invested in a £129m luxury property development in London’s high-end Chelsea neighbourhood.

The transaction is now at the centre of an internal Vatican probe into potential misuse of funds, which has seen several staff suspended. WRM, the owner of the Athena fund, has said it is confident it committed no wrongdoing. Mr Conte was involved in a separate transaction by the fund, which was part of a consortium wanting to win control of a small Italian telecoms company called Retelit. The consortium, Fiber 4.0, hired Mr Conte in May 2018 as a freelance legal expert.

Via Financial Times 

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