Mystery Vatican Funds Australia
The Vatican and the Australian Catholic Church have both denied knowledge of transfers worth $A2.35 billion which Australia’s financial watchdog says have been sent from Rome to Australia in the past seven years.
“That amount of money and that number of transfers did not leave the Vatican City,” a senior Vatican official with knowledge of the city-state’s finances said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Vatican would be seeking details from Australian authorities on the specific origin and destination of the money.
“It’s not our money because we don’t have that kind of money,” he said. “I am absolutely stunned.”
The figures were made public in December by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in response to a parliamentary question by Australian Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and first reported by the newspaper The Australian.
They involved about 47,000 separate transfers, according to AUSTRAC.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane told Reuters the Australian Church was not aware of any such transfers: “I can assure you that no diocese or other Church entity saw any of the money.”