News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

rome banner.jpg
rome-116333_1920.jpg
World News

Rome judge orders arrest of Vatican suspect in London deal

by Press Association

A Rome judge ordered the arrest of an Italian businessman living in London who is a prime suspect in the Vatican’s two-year investigation into the Holy See’s 350 million euro (£302 million) investment in a London real estate venture.

Judge Corrado Cappiello said there was an “absolute concrete” risk that Gianluigi Torzi could commit crimes if he is not taken into custody, saying the evidence showed he engaged in a “true economic strategy aimed at defrauding” tax authorities.

Torzi’s lawyers immediately filed a motion to contest the order before it passes onto Interpol and British police.

They noted in a statement that a British judge recently dismantled much of the Vatican’s case against Torzi in a related asset seizure ruling.

Vatican prosecutors have accused Torzi of extorting the Holy See of 15 million euros (£13 million) to turn over ownership of a luxury London building in which the Vatican’s secretariat of state was a majority shareholder.

Neither he nor anyone else under investigation has been indicted.

Torzi denies wrongdoing. Contracts show top Holy See officials signed off on Torzi’s involvement in the deal, and even Pope Francis knew about it and had met with Torzi.

Judge Cappiello’s 15-page order cited evidence gathered by both Vatican prosecutors and Rome investigators, who say they uncovered evidence of false billing, tax evasion and money laundering when Torzi’s phone, emails and WhatsApp messages were seized by Vatican investigators last year.

Torzi’s lawyers said in a statement on Monday that all taxes had been paid on the transactions cited by Judge Cappiello and that they expected it would be thrown out.

They noted that a British judge recently ruled that there was no reason to believe that Torzi benefited from criminal conduct as alleged by the Vatican and that the city state’s prosecutors had overstated their case through “appalling” omissions and misrepresentations to the court.

The Vatican had arrested Torzi for 10 days in June last year after he came into the Vatican City State for questioning about his role in the London deal.

The Vatican’s secretariat of state had used Torzi as a middleman to exit an investment fund that controlled the London property so that the Holy See could buy the building outright.

Vatican prosecutors have suffered a series of losses in foreign courts over the course of their investigation, which has raised questions about the rights of the accused in the Vatican’s criminal justice system.

The search of a key suspect’s Rome apartment was declared illegitimate and an extradition request for an Italian was woman dropped at the last minute after Italy’s high court established she never should have been arrested in the first place.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate