Saturday, January 26, 2013

More Vatican Skulduggery

Friend in UK writes me this:
The effective disenfranchisement of the people by forcible governing powers appears to be a consideration/fear/thought in several/ many countries. There are to my mind indications and have been for a while of the possible/actual suppression of the peoples of the world. It is a thought that would not have occurred to me some few years ago. At the same time there seem to be the growing rich elite, banks, businesses, individuals etc and the growing poorer people. One thing that is plain over here is that Christianity is being marginalised in this country at quite a rapid pace. Also famiy life is fracturing more than ever. We need to keep close to the Lord amidst such troubling indications - I tell myself, remembering the wonderful riches of Christ.
And sends a  a link to this: 

How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions:

...Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

Since then the international value of Mussolini's nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m. In 2006, at the height of the recent property bubble, the Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James's Square. Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland.

The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James's Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company's true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican.

Instead, they list two nominee shareholders, both prominent Catholic bankers: John Varley, recently chief executive of Barclays Bank, and Robin Herbert, formerly of the Leopold Joseph merchant bank. Letters were sent from the Guardian to each of them asking whom they act for. They went unanswered. British company law allows the true beneficial ownership of companies to be concealed behind nominees in this way.
...British wartime records from the National Archives in Kew complete the picture. They confirm Profima SA as the Vatican's own holding company, accused at the time of "engaging in activities contrary to Allied interests". Files from officials at Britain's Ministry of Economic Warfare at the end of the war criticised the pope's financier, Bernardino Nogara, who controlled the investment of more than £50m cash from the Mussolini windfall.
Nogara's "shady activities" were detailed in intercepted 1945 cable traffic from the Vatican to a contact in Geneva, according to the British, who discussed whether to blacklist Profima as a result. "Nogara, a Roman lawyer, is the Vatican financial agent and Profima SA in Lausanne is the Swiss holding company for certain Vatican interests." They believed Nogara was trying to transfer shares of two Vatican-owned French property firms to the Swiss company, to prevent the French government blacklisting them as enemy assets....