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‘No criminal misconduct’ in payments from Vatican to Australia

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) releases a statement regarding an investigation into alleged misconduct related to payments sent to Australia from the Holy See.

By Vatican News

“The AFP has completed analysis of the financial intelligence provided by AUSTRAC in relation to payments from the Vatican to Australia. No criminal misconduct has been identified to date. If the AFP receives additional information from Australian or international partners it will be reviewed accordingly.”

This statement was released Wednesday by the Australian Federal Police.

Already on 13 January, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Australian financial watchdog, had released a statement on the website of "The Australian", in which it admitted to having massively overestimated the flow of money transfers between the Vatican and Australia.

AUSTRAC, in the last months of 2020, alleged that over the last six years vast sums of money amounting to 1.4 billion Euro (2.3 billion Australian dollars) had been sent from the Vatican to Australia, totaling some 47,000 individual transfers. This enormous figure immediately appeared impossible both in terms of the amount of money and the number of transactions, since it was not at all in keeping with the typical financial movements of the Holy See.

In a communiqué issued a few days ago, AUSTRAC corrected those estimates downward enormously, stating that it was not 1.4 billion Euro through 47,000 financial transactions over the past six years, but 6 million Euro through 362 transactions.

Audits requested by the Holy See and carried out by AUSTRAC in conjunction with the ASIF, Vatican’s Supervisory and Financial Information Authority, restored the numbers to their correct size. The true figure, according to a statement from the Holy See, "is attributable, among other things, to a number of contractual obligations and the ordinary management of resources".

With its most recent statement, the Australian Federal Police confirm that the analysis of the transactions did not reveal any criminal conduct.

04 February 2021, 08:19