Vatican finds hundreds of millions of euros ‘tucked away’ in secret accounts

The Vatican’s economy minister has revealed hundreds of millions of euros were found “tucked away” in accounts of various Holy See departments without having appeared in the city-state’s balance sheets. In an article for Britain’s Catholic Herald Magazine to be published on Friday, Australian Cardinal George Pell wrote that the discovery meant overall Vatican finances were in better shape than previously believed. “It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke … the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments,” said Vatican economy minister Cardinal George Pell.

Hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet.

Vatican economy minister Cardinal George Pell

Pell did not suggest any wrongdoing but said Vatican departments had long had “an almost free hand” with their finances and followed “long-established patterns” in managing their affairs. “Very few were tempted to tell the outside world what was happening, except when they needed extra help,” he said, singling out the once-powerful Secretariat of State as one department that had especially jealously guarded its independence. “It was impossible for anyone to know accurately what was going on overall,” added Pell, head of the new Secretariat for the Economy. Since Pope Francis’s election in March, 2013, the Vatican has enacted major reforms to adhere to international financial standards and prevent money laundering. It has closed many suspicious accounts at its scandal-rocked bank.