ROME Investigating magistrates in Italy on Tuesday froze tens of millions of euros well worth of property belonging to a distinguished Italian banker they consider utilised the Vatican financial institution and one more Holy See money division for market place manipulation.
The money crimes police claimed in a assertion that they had executed the magistrates’ orders, sequestering 2.five million euros ($2.64 million) in structures, stocks and land belonging to Giampietro Nattino, head of Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA. [BFE.MI]
Magistrates accuse him of market place manipulation and providing false info to Consob, Italy’s stock regulator.
Nattino claimed in a assertion that the frozen property belonged to him individually and not to his financial institution, and that he would cooperate with investigators.
Shares in his personal financial institution fell 3.6 percent ahead of recovering some of that decline.
Tuesday’s developments adopted an special report by Reuters in November, 2015 about a Vatican investigation into Nattino’s accounts at the Vatican financial institution, known as the Institute for Is effective of Religion, and at APSA, an office environment that oversees Vatican real estate and investments. reut.rs/2m7SvYh
A confidential doc found by Reuters at the time protected the period from 2000 to 2011 and was passed on to Italian and Swiss investigators for their checks simply because some activity tied to the accounts allegedly took location in these nations.
Vatican investigators suspected that on a single event when his financial institution managed a stock placement, the APSA accounts were being utilised to acquire shares ahead of they were being allotted to other buyers.
In their assertion on Tuesday, police claimed Nattino had utilised the “deal with” of the Vatican money institutions to have out “a elaborate stock procedure which resulted in felony behavior regarding market place manipulation”.
The police assertion claimed Nattino had used “deceptive and false” approaches to “considerably change” the price of shares in his financial institution.
It claimed Italian magistrates were being investigating two individuals who were being managers at APSA in 2011 on suspicion of complicity. The Vatican had no speedy remark on the Italian magistrates’ buy or on who the former Vatican officers were being.
Nattino’s assertion on Tuesday referred back to a single issued in 2015 in which he claimed his function had “generally been characterised by highest transparency and correctness”.
The Vatican, a sovereign point out surrounded by Rome, has enacted a variety of provisions to cleanse its finances and make them a lot more transparent in modern decades, notably due to the fact the election of Pope Francis in 2013.
Amongst the reforms was the closing of accounts held by outsiders these types of as Nattino.
APSA created headlines in June 2013 with the arrest of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who labored there for 22 decades as a senior accountant.
Previous yr he was acquitted of fees of conspiracy to smuggle 20 million euros in hard cash into Italy from Switzerland to assistance friends steer clear of taxes.
Scarano, who nonetheless faces a separate trial on cash laundering fees, denies all wrongdoing.
($1 = .9484 euros)
(Supplemental reporting by Stefano Bernabei and Antonella Cinelli editing by John Stonestreet)