VATICAN CITY, Jan 28 (Reuters) – The Vatican said on Friday it had signed a contract to sell a luxury building, in an exclusive London neighbourhood, which is at the heart of an ongoing corruption trial.
Economy minister Father Antonio Guerrero told Vatican media that the Holy See had received a 10% deposit and that the sale of 60 Sloane Avenue in Chelsea should be concluded in June.
Guerrero did not give any figures but said the loss on the sale after “an alleged swindle” had been taken into account in the Vatican’s projected budget for this year.
The Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy added that the building was being sold for more than it had recently been valued at, without giving further detail.
Media estimates have said the likely loss to the Vatican would be in the region of 100 million euros ($111 million).
Ten people, including a Vatican cardinal and two Italian financial brokers are on trial in the Vatican on charges including embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and extortion.
The trial began in July last year but is still dealing with procedural issues.