Vatican finance guru’s exit suggests ‘Back to the Future’ dynamic on reform

Crux | 11/19/2019 | Staff
nallynally (Posted by) Level 4
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KEY WEST, Florida - Logically speaking, it may be contradictory to call something both mystifying and utterly predictable, and yet that seems to be a near-constant when it comes to the Vatican’s handling of sensitive or potentially embarrassing news.

The latest case in point comes with the departure Monday of René Brülhart, the Swiss lawyer who, since 2012, has led a new anti-money laundering watchdog unit created under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

Statement - Monday - Vatican - Brülhart - End

In a statement on Monday, the Vatican said Brülhart is departing at the end of his term and that a successor has already been chosen and will take office as soon as the pope is back from his Nov. 19-26 trip to Thailand and Japan, in order to assure “continuity of institutional action.”

In other words, nothing to see here, all quiet on the Roman front.

Course - Hogwash

Except, of course, that’s hogwash.

First of all, the president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF) has no fixed term of office. Thus, to assert that it’s the end of a non-existent “mandate” is prima facie dubious.

Brülhart - Claim - Comment - Monday - Reuters

Further, Brülhart himself debunked that claim in a comment Monday to Reuters, in which he made it clear that he had resigned, not simply completed a term.

The background is clear to anyone who’s been following recent vicissitudes in terms of the Vatican’s financial operation.

Oct - Vatican - Gendarmes - Raids - Offices

On Oct. 1, the Vatican gendarmes conducted raids on the offices of both AIF and the Secretariat of State as part of a probe launched by the Promoter of Justice related to a property deal in London. In a nutshell, the Secretariat of State had initially spent $220 million buying a share of a former Harrods warehouse in Chelsea slated to be converted into luxury apartments, then wanted another $170 million in a loan from the Institute for the Works of Religion, the so-called “Vatican bank,” to buy...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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