Italian newspapers yesterday reported that an Italian cardinal responsible for managing the Vatican’s real estate holdings is being investigated in his former diocese for embezzlement, reports Crux.
The reports say that Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, former Bishop of the northern city of Savona and current President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), is under investigation by Italian prosecutors for alleged misappropriations of funds at an institute to support the clergy in Liguria.
According to La Stampa, Cardinal Calcagno, 73, apparently signed off on a series of real estate investments by the institute’s former president and his deputy that caused debts of “a few million Euro.”
Prosecutors believe the institute was turned into a real estate agency of sorts, which collected money from local priests and parishes and then used the revenue to make a series of speculative investments, several of which turned out badly.
The biggest example, according to reports, was the purchase of a structure called Colonie Bergamasche, which was supposed to be converted into a luxury hotel and residential complex, a project that was scuttled by Cardinal Calcagno’s successor in 2004.
Cardinal Calcagno has been working in APSA since 2007, when Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI appointed him secretary of the office. He was named its president in 2011.
Historically, APSA has been responsible for managing the Vatican’s own resources, both its stock and bond portfolio and its real estate holdings.
Before a reorganisation called for by Pope Francis in 2014, APSA also oversaw Vatican purchasing and human resources, but those functions were transferred to a new Secretariat for the Economy led by Cardinal George Pell.