Who is Raffaele Mincione? Pope Francis authorized secret wiretaps on financier who defrauded Vatican

Pope Francis allowed investigators to bug phones, intercept emails and arrest anyone without the need to wait for British judges' approval


                            Who is Raffaele Mincione? Pope Francis authorized secret wiretaps on financier who defrauded Vatican
Pope Francis (R) reportedly authorized secret wiretaps on Italian financial broker Raffaele Mincione (L) (WRM Group website and Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis reportedly authorized secret wiretaps on Italian financial broker Raffaele Mincione, who was accused of defrauding the Vatican of hundreds of millions of dollars, leaked documents have claimed. Pope Francis allowed investigators to bug phones, intercept emails and arrest anyone without the need to wait for British judges' approval. 

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These powers were used by the Vatican’s Office of the Promoter of Justice to target Mincione, a fund manager who allegedly cheated the Vatican amidst a real estate venture of about $350 million. The scandal is related to a huge Vatican investment in a former Harrod’s warehouse in London, which was supposed to be converted into luxury apartments.

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Who is Raffaele Mincione?

Raffaele Mincione founded the WRM Group in 2009, the website of which says that its "ethos is to achieve stable and long-term results for its investors through a hands-on approach, thereby adopting an activist and value-oriented strategy in the management of its investments. The Group is well positioned to access, manage and create value from illiquid assets, turnarounds and distressed situations and adopts strategies which seek to optimise market asymmetries or temporary mispricing, investing across the entire capital structure of target companies."

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"With more than 20 years experience in investment management and banking, Raffaele began his career at Goldman Sachs International on the Italian Fixed Income sales desk," the group says of Mincione. "He then moved to Nomura International and subsequently to Merrill Lynch London and New York offices, where he was responsible for European and Latin American coverage." He has also acted as a senior advisor and board member for leading investment firms, including banks and primary industrial groups, in the past ten years,

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Now on trial in Vatican City for financial crimes, Mincione earlier filed suit against the Swiss bank which arranged the Vatican's investment with him. WRM Group has claimed that Credit Suisse and Citco “failed to divulge crucial information about the origin of the money which they used to subscribe to the WRM Group sub-fund, in order to cover up the exact origin of the funds in the framework of the relationship between Credit Suisse, Citco and the Vatican.” He was charged with financial crimes. The investment manager, who sold the Vatican the building at 60 Sloane Avenue maintained that losses on the real estate investment are the Vatican’s fault. 

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The Vatican law was amended by the pope in April 2021, allowing religious leaders like cardinals and bishops to stand trial before the Vatican’s civilian-led courts. Francis later allegedly ordered “the adoption of technological tools suitable for intercepting fixed and mobile devices, as well as any other communication, including electronic ones,” leaked documents claimed. "These powers may be exercised against subjects whose communication activities are considered useful for carrying out the investigations.” 

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Vatican authorities and Italian police seized Mincione’s phones and computer weeks later, at a hotel in Rome where he was vacationing. His lawyer has claimed that he was put under surveillance.