The Vatican has authorized the secret wiretapping of a London-based Italian financial broker accused of defrauding the Holy See of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to leaked documents.
The Times of London reports that Pope Francis has given investigators the power to tap phones, intercept emails and arrest anyone without the consent of British judges.
The Vatican’s Office of the Promoter of Justice used those powers to target millionaire Rafael Mencioni, a fund manager accused of cheating the Vatican amid a nearly $350 million real estate project.
The scandal centers on a massive investment by the Vatican in a former Harrod’s warehouse in London, which was to be converted into luxury apartments.
Mencioni is one of 10 people, including a cardinal, involved in the controversy, which first surfaced in 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Last month, the prosecution Mincioni wondered About his management of a trust that owns property in London.
In April 2021, the Pope Vatican law amendmentallowing religious leaders such as cardinals and bishops to appear before the civilian-led courts of the Vatican, the Telegraph reported.
Days later, Pope Francis ordered “the adoption of appropriate technological tools to intercept fixed and mobile devices, as well as any other communications, including electronic,” according to the leaked documents. “These powers may be exercised against persons whose communicative activities are useful to the conduct of investigations.”
Weeks later, Vatican authorities and Italian police seized Mansion’s phones and computer at a hotel in Rome, while the financier was on vacation, according to the report. His Italian lawyer claims that he was placed on probation.
Mansion’s lawyer wrote to British officials urging them not to cooperate with the Vatican investigation.
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