Vatican investments will from now on be scrutinised by an in-house committee on the orders of Pope Francis, following a scandal over the controversial purchase of a luxury London property.
The committee will be headed by Irish-American cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell and be made up of four “high-profile professionals” appointed for a five-year term, the Vatican’s press office said Tuesday.
Francis laid down the terms for the committee’s creation in a new constitution which came into effect on Sunday in a much-anticipated shake-up of the Vatican’s powerful governing body, the Curia.
The members are directors or specialists at investment companies in Britain, Germany and Norway, as well as at a higher education college in the United States.
According to the constitution, they will have to “ensure the ethical nature of the Holy See’s equity investments, in accordance with the Church’s social doctrine and according to the criteria of profitability, suitability, and moderate riskiness”.
The Vatican has been rocked by a scandal centred around the costly purchase of a prestigious building in London as part of the Holy See’s investment activities.
At the end of January, the Vatican confirmed that it had sold the 17,000 square metre (175,000 square foot) building at 60 Sloane Square, in the upmarket Chelsea district, at a large loss.
Since July 2021, 10 people — including a once-powerful cardinal — have been on trial in the tiny city state accused of fraud, embezzlement, abuse of power, money laundering, corruption and extortion.