Australia Victoria Police says it won't investigate Vatican wire transfer claims

09:41  24 october  2020
09:41  24 october  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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Force says Austrac has not advised it of ‘suspicious activity’ in the transactions after Italian allegations of connection to George Pell trial.

Victoria Police said in a statement that the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) had made them aware of “ transfer of monies from the Vatican over a period of time to Australia”, but had not advised them of We are not at this time conducting any further investigation .”

London: Victoria Police says there is no evidence to warrant an investigation into allegations that Vatican funds were used in an attempt to secure the conviction of Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal George Pell © Reuters Cardinal George Pell

Italian newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera earlier this month claimed a rival of Pell's, former cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, was suspected of arranging for €700,000 ($1.1 million) to be transferred to people in Australia to support the prosecution of child sex abuse charges against Pell.

The papers did not provide any evidence to support the claims, which have been circulating privately among Pell's supporters for several years.

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Police in Victoria say they are not investigating money transfers from the Vatican rumored to be linked to the case of Cardinal George Pell. Australian state police said on Friday they were not pursuing an investigation into transfers of money from the Vatican to Australia that Italian media

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Australia's financial crimes watchdog, AUSTRAC, recently examined the reports and provided "information" to the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.

In a statement released on Friday, Victoria Police confirmed AUSTRAC had told it that money had been transferred from the Vatican "over a period of time" but appeared to play down its significance.

"They have not advised Victoria Police of any suspicious activity related to these transactions," the statement said.

Video: Victorian probe to explore links between Pell case and Vatican money (Sky News Australia)

"In the absence of any other evidence or intelligence Victoria Police has noted the advice from AUSTRAC. We are not at this time conducting any further investigation."

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The financial crimes regulator has passed information to police about allegations of money being transferred from the Vatican in relation to the trial of Cardinal In response to a query from the ABC on Tuesday evening, the Australian Federal Police said they did not have any information to provide.

Victoria Police , which in 2017 charged Pell with child sex abuse, said the Australian intelligence agency responsible for detecting international financial crime, AUSTRAC, had confirmed that Vatican money had been wired to Australia. But AUSTRAC had not advised Victoria Police of any suspicious

The AFP, the other agency AUSTRAC sent the information to, on Wednesday said it was "undertaking a review of the relevant information" but had referred aspects of this matter to the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

Italian media have linked the transfers to a turf war between forces loyal to Pell and Becciu, who was considered an opponent of Pell's plans to reform the Vatican's finances when he served as the Holy See's treasurer before returning to Australia to face child sex charges.

Pell, 79, was jailed in early 2019 but was released from prison and had his convictions quashed in April this year after a successful appeal to the High Court.

Becciu's lawyer has said his client strongly denies any interference with Pell's trial. The allegations have also been denied by people who gave evidence against Pell during legal proceedings in Melbourne.

Pope Francis recently forced Becciu to relinquish his role as a cardinal and the head of the office responsible for appointing saints following allegations the 72-year-old misused church funds to invest in a luxury London property development.

Becciu denied any wrongdoing immediately after the September 24 firing.

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usr: 3
This is interesting!