ROME (AP) – Vatican prosecutors have ordered the seizure of documents and computers from the administrative offices of St. Peterâ€™s Basilica in an apparently new investigation into financial irregularities in the Holy See.
The Vatican said Tuesday that Pope Francis also named a special commissioner to run the basilica, reorganize its offices, update its statutes to comply with new Vatican norms on procurement and contracting, and to â€œclarify its administration.â€
The Vatican said both decisions stemmed from a report from the Vaticanâ€™s auditor general. It said based on the auditorâ€™s report, the Vaticanâ€™s criminal prosecutors authorized the seizure Tuesday of documentation and computers from the â€œFabbrica di San Pietro,â€ the offices that manage the pope’s basilica.
The Vatican provided no details about what the auditor flagged or the specific problems the extraordinary commissioner has been tasked with fixing. The commissioner, Bishop Mario Giordana, previously conducted an investigation into financial irregularities within the management of the Sistine Chapel Choir that led to the early retirement of the choirmaster last year.
In a statement, the Vatican said the naming of Giordana followed new norms issued by Francis on June 1 to centralize the Fabbrica di San Pietro’s contracting and procurement procedures in a bid to cut waste, root out corruption and update the Vaticanâ€™s financial management.
Vatican prosecutors last year launched a separate investigation into the Vatican secretariat of stateâ€™s purchase of a luxury London building amid allegations that middlemen had fleeced the Holy See out of millions of euros. No indictments have been handed down in that case, though a broker was arrested and then released earlier this month.