Leaked documents suggest Pope Francis authorized a covert wiretapping of Italian financial broker Raffaele Mincione, who was accused of robbing the Vatican of hundreds of millions of dollars. Pope Francis gave detectives the green light to bug phones, intercept emails and arrest anyone without first getting permission from British judges.
The Vatican’s justice promoter’s office used these authorities to go after Mincione, a fund manager accused of defrauding the Vatican over a $350 million real estate project. The issue comes in connection with a sizeable Vatican investment in a disused London Harrod’s warehouse to be converted into opulent apartments.
Raffaele Mincione: who is he?
WRM Group was founded in 2009 by Raffaele Mincione and according to its website, “Its ethos is to generate solid and long-term returns for its investors through a hands-on approach, while adopting an activist and value-based strategy in managing its investments. The Group is well positioned to leverage, manage and add value to illiquid assets, turnarounds and emergencies. It also employs techniques aimed at maximizing market asymmetries or brief mispricings by investing across the target company’s entire capital structure.
Raffaele Mincione started his career at Goldman Sachs International in the Italian fixed income sales desk, according to the organization, and has more than 20 years of banking and investment management experience. He later moved to Merrill Lynch’s London and New York offices, where he was responsible for overseeing reporting on Europe and Latin America. For the past 10 years he has also served as a senior advisor and board member for top investment firms including banks and large industrial companies.
Mincione had previously filed a lawsuit against the Swiss bank that organized the Vatican’s investment in him. Mincione is currently on trial in Vatican City for financial crimes. In order to obscure the exact origin of the funds related to the relationship between Credit Suisse, Citco and the Vatican, according to the WRM Group, Credit Suisse and Citco “have not disclosed crucial information about the origin of the funds used by them to underwrite the WRM Group sub-fund .” He was accused of financial crimes. The financial manager who sold the building at 60 Sloane Avenue to the Vatican insisted that the Vatican was responsible for all of the real estate company’s losses.
The pope amended the Vatican’s statute in April 2021, allowing religious authorities such as cardinals and bishops to be tried by the Vatican’s civil-run tribunals. Later, according to leaked documents, Francis allegedly “ordered the use of technological means capable of intercepting fixed and mobile devices and any other communications, including electronic ones.” “These authorities can be used against subjects whose communications are deemed relevant to the conduct of the investigation.”
Weeks later, while Mincione was vacationing in Rome, Mincione’s phones and computers were confiscated by Vatican officials and Italian police. According to his lawyer, he was placed under surveillance.