Vatican’s London luxury development company, with ties to alleged financial crime, offered to raze parish rectory

Catholic News Agency | 11/19/2019 | Staff
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London, England, Nov 19, 2019 / 02:35 pm (CNA).- Developers acting for the Vatican Secretariat of State offered to raze a London parish hall and rectory and replace it with low-cost housing, in order to try to push through a luxury apartment development. The luxury development project involves two recently suspended Vatican employees, and a nest of Vatican-controlled holding companies led by an architect linked to accusations of money laundering and fraud involving Vatican accounts.

In a June 2016 planning proposal submitted to local authorities in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a property developer seeking permission to develop luxury apartments at 60 Sloane Ave offered London’s St Pius X parish hall and rectory as a property for building the low-income housing required by law to offset the luxury development.

Inclusion - Property - Planning - Application - Officials

The inclusion of the parish property in the planning application was facilitated by officials at the Vatican Secretariat of State, who visited the parish and worked with the local Archdiocese of Westminster to secure the cooperation of the parish pastor.

The involvement of the Vatican in developing the proposal comes to light after Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who authorized the Vatican’s investment, described the Holy See’s involvement in the real estate development as a matter of ordinary business, denying there was anything suspicious about the transaction..

Practice - Holy - See - Property - Rome

“It is accepted practice for the Holy See to invest in property, it has always done so: in Rome, in Paris, in Switzerland and also in London,” Becciu said in October, insisting that the deal was “regular and registered according to law.”

The planning application was submitted on behalf of 60 SA Ltd., a private holding company registered in Jersey, a tax shelter in the Channel Islands, which owns the building and in which the Vatican had invested $200 million in borrowed money.

Development - Property

The development of the parish property, owned by...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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