The fund manager at the center of the Vatican's disastrous investment in the London real estate market has sued Credit Suisse, claiming the Swiss bank failed to disclose that the money came from donations meant for the poor.
This month, Raffaele Mincione's former bank, WRM Group, filed a lawsuit in Luxembourg against Credit Suisse and fund manager Citco. According to the lawsuit, Credit Suisse and Citco failed to inform Mincione that investments made in his fund came from Peter's Pence, a division of the Vatican that oversees charitable donations.
For his part in a deal where Peter's Pence assets were used to purchase 60 Sloane Avenue, a building in London's Knightsbridge neighborhood, Mincione is facing legal action in the Vatican.
Credit Suisse stated that it "will defend itself vigorously against this claim brought by WRM Group, which is unfounded and without merit," and that it "is not involved in the Vatican trial," the bank continued.
Mincione was accused of several crimes, including fraud and embezzlement, by Vatican prosecutors last year. He denies the charges.
The London structure was purchased by WRM-affiliated companies in 2012 for £129 million. Two years later, funds purportedly from Peter's Pence, according to the Vatican, were used to invest in the property through Mincione's investment fund at a significantly higher price.
In 2018, the Vatican bought the remaining portion of the structure. In the Knightsbridge building, which was formerly a Harrods warehouse and was planned to be converted into luxury apartments, Mincione-founded companies allegedly made a sizable profit.
He and his businesses have denied any wrongdoing, claiming that independent auditors and outside consultants had supported the increase in the property's value. Additionally, he claimed that Credit Suisse and other of the Vatican's own investment banks have always provided advice.
Senior Holy See officials invested a total of €350 million in donations in the London building on behalf of the Vatican between 2014 and 2018, according to the Vatican.
According to WRM, Mincione had to abandon several significant projects as a result of the Vatican's criminal investigations, and his assets were frozen in Switzerland. In addition, his funding and financing costs increased.
"WRM Group alleges that Credit Suisse and Citco failed to divulge crucial information about the origin of the money used by the named defendants to subscribe in the WRM Group Sub-Fund, in order to cover up the exact origin of the said money in the framework of the relationship between the named defendants and the Vatican," according to a statement from WRM.
By the time of publication, Citco had not responded to a request for comment.
By fLEXI tEAM