The Vatican’s No. 3 says Pope Francis gave clear indications to get out of a disastrous London real estate deal at the heart of big criminal trial.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis gave clear indications to get out of a disastrous London real estate deal by saying the Vatican must “start over and lose as little money as possible,” an exit strategy that eventually involved paying off a broker 15 million euros, the Holy See’s No. 3 official told a court Thursday.
Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, the “substitute” in the secretariat of state, was the highest-ranking witness to be questioned by defense attorneys for 10 people on trial for alleged financial crimes involving the London property and related dealings. His testimony was eagerly sought by the defense, given that he oversaw the final phase of the London deal in 2018-2019 as well as the negotiations with the broker, Gianluigi Torzi.
Prosecutors have accused Torzi of extorting the Holy See for the 15 million euros in exchange for ownership of the building, charges he denies. The nine other defendants have similarly denied wrongdoing.
The crux of the London case rests on the passage of ownership of the London property to Torzi’s Gutt SA fund at the end of 2018 after the Vatican decided to prematurely exit another fund that had invested in it.
READ ON BELOW…Pope sought to lose ‘as little as possible’ in London deal – ABC News