The senior Vatican official Fabrizio Tirabassi been paid for years by Swiss bank Ubs while he was an employee of the Holy See. He would be paid commissions on financial transactions carried out by the Secretariat of State, where he worked, and also for introducing new clients. Ubs together with Credit Suisse and the defunct Bsi one of the Vatican’s historical reference institutes. Until a few months ago, among other things, the confidential account of the Secretariat in the name of Pope francescoTirabassi was one of the most influential lay employees of the most powerful dicastery of the Roman curia, he directed and managed financial investments, which over time have exceeded 600 million euros. In the last ten years he has been the right arm of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca and his direct superior, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, and, before Perlasca, of Monsignor Gianfranco Piovano, until 2009 financial mind of the Secretariat. Suspended from service last year, Tirabassi was among the suspects in the Vatican investigation into the management of donation funds.
The fringe benefit and the suspicion of corruption
According to documents consulted by Courier service, Ubs has had Tirabassi formally under contract since 2004, guaranteeing him a commission (fee) of 0.5% per annum on the amount of assets deposited in UBS accounts and on new customers. The relationship continued for a long time, at least still in 2016, when the Vatican official was the holder of the CQUE 666-439 CIDMAN cipher account at UBS in Lugano with one million euros in deposit. An Information Note on the client-purpose of the business relationship refers to a finder fee (0.5%) granted to the client for new money that went into two other relationships with us. Magistrates suspect corruption. The defense of Tirabassi (the lawyers Cataldo Intrieri and Massimo Bassi) replies that everything was known and authorized by the superiors, as a kind of fringe benefit: he would have collected fees from UBS for transactions carried out on the Secretariat’s accounts, on which he had the power of attorney to operate. He also carried out, again authorized by the Vatican, a private activity as an accountant. Whatever happened, this shows how much confusion of roles, skills and interests reigned in the financial heart of the Holy See and for who knows how long. The lawyer Fabio Viglione, who assists Becciu, states thatTirabassi had been there long before the then archbishop arrived at the Secretariat in 2011 and that Becciu was never educated by his specific contract.
Who paid the Vatican employees?
Now the investigation could find new ideas, starting from the investment in the Sloane Avenue building in London, which involves the Centurion fund of the Swiss manager Enrico Crasso, the financiers Raffaele Mincione and Gianluigi Torzi and Becciu himself for financing the self-styled agent secret Cecilia Marogna. Tirabassi’s contract with UBS could turn back the clock to reconstruct the facts and raise doubts about who paid Vatican employees. Ubs only? Only Tirabassi? Evidence from the Vatican investigation documents would also attribute indirect commissions to the accountant from Credit Suisse. For over thirty years a Vatican employee, average salary of 2,500 euros, Tirabassi, with Perlasca, was the keeper of the Pence of St. Peter, largely burned in speculative investments and professional costs (consultants, commissions) out of control. From the folds of the investigation new operations emerge, of which nothing had yet been filtered out. These too promoted or favored by Tirabassi.
A 70% loss in less than a year
In October 2017 it was decided to underwrite financial products from Astaldi, a Roman construction company struggling to survive, liquidating Commerzbank securities. One step away from the crash, Astaldi was absorbed by Salini Impregilo (now WeBuild). And the Secretariat took home a 70% loss in less than a year. Plus the men of Pietro Parolin, number two of the Vatican, have invested 20 million in the Hearth Ethical fund launched in February 2018 by Valori AM. Tirabassi would have proposed the investment (adequate to the profile of the Secretariat, at least for the ethical denomination) to other subjects linked to the curia. Also earning there some commissions. The official gave the Vatican magistrates a memorandum in which, among other things, he explained that he had no signatory powers and that every investment was decided and concluded by his superiors. And Ubs? Laconically, he answers no comment.
July 1, 2021 (change July 1, 2021 | 07:36 am)
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