(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland is assisting the Vatican with an investigation into the purchase of luxury property in London, according to NZZ am Sonntag.
A first batch of documents has been sent to the Vatican by the alpine nation after a request for legal assistance, the newspaper reported, citing a Swiss justice ministry spokesman. A double-digit million sum in Swiss francs has been frozen at Swiss banks relating to the request, the newspaper said, citing a well-informed source.
The Holy See is probing the purchase of luxury real estate in London’s exclusive Chelsea district eight years ago, the newspaper reported. It became known last year that part of the invested money came from donations from Catholic worshipers, and there were suspicions that money had been siphoned off during the purchase, NZZ am Sonntag said. The Vatican’s attorney general has been probing the case since October, and last November Pope Francis labeled it publicly as a scandal, according to the newspaper.
The more than 300 million Swiss franc ($309 million) investment took place through a complicated structure, in which Swiss banks including Credit Suisse Group AG were involved, the report said. A spokeswoman for Credit Suisse told NZZ am Sonntag that the bank is not the target of the Vatican’s investigation.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.