Australian anti-graft agency dismisses Vatican speculation

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) – An Australian anti-graft agency said yesterday it was not investigating the transfer of Vatican funds to Australia because of a lack of evidence of wrongdoing, further undermining Italian media speculation that the money might be linked to the overturned convictions of Cardinal George Pell for child sex abuse.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera speculated last month that Vatican investigators were looking into whether Pell’s nemesis at the Holy See, ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, wired EUR700,000 (USD823,000) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia, and whether that money was tied to Pell’s sex abuse trial.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission said it “received information based on media reports which alleged Vatican funds were transferred to individuals in support of the recent case against” Pell.

The commission is the anti-graft agency that investigates the public sector, including police, in Victoria state where Pell was convicted in 2018.

File photo of Cardinal George Pell in Melbourne, Australia. PHOTO: AP