The Vatican City will suffer a loss of £ 100 million in donations to the poor when it completes the pending sale of its luxurious London office building, which is now the center of international criminal investigations.
According to some people familiar with the process, the Vatican City is in the final stages of selling 60 Sloane Avenue, a building in London’s Knightsbridge district, to private equity group Bain Capital for about £ 200 million. Both Bain Capital and Savills, which manages the sale, declined to comment.
The Vatican City states that between 2014 and 2018, senior Holy See officials invested a total of € 350 million in donations to the London building. In short, the sale is expected to confirm a loss of approximately £ 100 million in the Catholic Church.
Vatican prosecutors say the money invested in buildings and other investments came from Peter’s Pence, which is donated annually by Catholics around the world. Relief for the most in need. “
The London building, which at some point was intended to be converted into a luxury condominium, is at the heart of a scandal that forced the Vatican City to completely rethink how it manages its finances.
At the end of last year, Pope Francis from the Vatican’s powerful central administration office Investment portfolio Worth hundreds of millions of euros made up of donations from Catholics.
Sour bets on the booming London real estate market have penalized some commercial agents and investors.
“I couldn’t understand how they were [the Vatican] An agent with decades of experience in the London office market said.
Earlier this year, Vatican prosecutors charged former Italian banker Rafaele Mincione with a variety of crimes, including fraud and embezzlement.
The Mincione company acquired a London building for £ 129m in 2012. Two years later, a Vatican unit that manages charitable donations bought a stake in real estate with a much higher valuation through an investment fund established by Mincione. Vatican City acquired the rest of the building in 2018.
Vatican prosecutors say the Mincione company made a big profit by investing in the Knightsbridge building.
He denied any misconduct, saying that the increase in the value of the asset was justified by an independent third-party consultant who was audited. He also said that the Vatican was always advised by its own investment bank.
Vatican criminal proceedings against other people, including Mincione and the Cardinal, were suspended last month, and the charges against the accused were lifted after a Vatican judge demanded that the prosecutor provide additional evidence to the defense counsel.
A lawyer representing Mincione said lifting the indictment meant that the proceedings against him in Vatican courts were legal and effectively “invalid.”
The Vatican said there was disagreement over the proceedings. Another hearing will be held at the end of this month.
Mincione has frozen assets of € 48 million in Switzerland at the request of a Vatican prosecutor as part of a criminal investigation. He has filed another civil suit against the Holy See in the British High Court seeking “declarative relief,” a ruling that he found to have acted appropriately.
Mincione was unaware that the money that had been invested on behalf of the Vatican was obtained from the charity fund, and Vatican authorities lost money as they withdrew from the investment prematurely in 2018 and allowed planning permits. The construction of a luxury apartment that says it is responsible will expire. Vatican prosecutors claim that the loss was the result of a complex fraud.
A British court is expected to decide whether a proceeding against the Vatican can be filed by a Mincione company by the end of this month.