Posted on: 05/06/2020 22:53
Extortion of 15 million to the Vatican. It is the disturbing hypothesis that emerges from the Oltretevere investigation that led to the arrest of Gianluigi Torzi today as part of the investigation into the Holy See’s acquisition of the Sloane Avenue building in London. Torzi, an entrepreneur from Molise, according to the reconstructions of the accusation, would have come into contact with the Secretariat of State to help solve the impasse of participation in the Athena fund of Raffaele Mincione, a participation financed with the money of the Saint Peter’s Obolo poor – and cost to the Vatican coffers – always according to what has been reconstructed by the investigators – losses of several million euros. The broker now under arrest, however, according to the allegations, would soon have turned into the man capable of keeping the secretariat of state in hand until he completed an extortion of 15 million.
Torzi was in a position to carry out an extortion at the Vatican thanks to the scam that, according to investigators, the businessman allegedly committed against the Secretariat of State. In particular, according to the Adnkronos, Torzi, who with his Gutt Sa had triangulated for the Holy See the purchase from Mincione of the London property at the center of the investigation, would have retained without letting the Secretariat of State know a thousand shares (the only ones with voting rights) of the company, thereby effectively preventing the Vatican (to which it had sold 30 thousand shares but without voting rights) to dispose of the building.
The investigators would have discovered that during a meeting to convince the entrepreneur to sell his shares and in which also Monsignor Edgar Pena Parra, Deputy of the Vatican secretariat of state, Giuseppe Maria Milanese, who would act in the interest of the Secretariat, also participated, the lawyer of the firm Ernst & Young Manuele Intendente and Renato Giovannini, rector vicar of the Guglielmo Marconi University, Torzi would have said he was willing to give up, after compensation for expenses and with a small profit margin, a sum that in a subsequent meeting was quantified as 3 million of Euro.
However, despite the verbal agreement, in the investigative hypothesis Torzi would not have returned the residual shares of Gutt Sa. Indeed, his ‘upward’ strategy would emerge during a dramatic and very long meeting in Giovannini’s studio, from which it would turn out that more people had been involved in the operation and that sums of money had also been given or promised to “others”. True? False? And who are these “others”? And, again, that Enrico Crasso, finance manager of the Secretariat of State through Sogenel Capital Holding, and Fabrizio Tirabassi, head of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State, a few days earlier in a meeting in Milan had offered him 9 million euros for divest the shares.
A substantial figure, however deemed insufficient by Torzi who, according to investigators reported by several witnesses, would have come to hypothesize the sum of 24 million and even 30 million to return the London property to the Holy See, in an escalation that as far as he learns, Adnkronos would have pushed Giovannini, questioned by the Vatican investigators, to not be able to deny that the demands of the entrepreneur from Molise had the tones of an “extortion”.
Subsequently, during a meeting with the Substitute of the Vatican Secretariat, Tirabassi and Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, head of the administrative office of the Secretariat, the investigations revealed that they would have proposed to withdraw the 20 million necessary to close the transaction with Torzi from the so-called Fund discretionary, a fund created in 2015 for the Pope’s discretionary expenses. An operation that would have ended in nothing thanks to the mediation of Monsignor Mauro Carlino who would have convinced Torzi to accept 15 million instead of 20, for the payment of which, according to the Vatican prosecutor’s office, extortion would be consummated.
(by Mia Grassi and Tommaso Gallavotti)
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