Vatican prosecutors raid Secretariat of State in financial transaction investigation

Vatican City — Vatican police officers conducted a raid Oct. 1 on the offices of the Vatican's Secretariat of State and the city-state's financial watchdog authority regarding an investigation into unspecified financial transactions.

The Vatican press office, which announced the raid in a two-sentence note, did not give many details about its scope or the matter being investigated. Its statement said merely that "documents and electronic devices" had been collected with regard to transactions that took place this summer.

The raid was authorized by the Vatican's chief prosecutor, following a report on the matter from the Vatican's auditor general and officials at the Institute for the Works of Religious, commonly known as the Vatican bank, said the release.

Officials at both the Secretariat of State and the financial watchdog, known formally as the Financial Information Authority, did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

Pope Francis has made reforming the Vatican's financial system a priority of his six-year papacy, focusing on streamlining operations and bringing them up to international standards. The Vatican bank announced just a day ago that as part of those efforts, it had been able to rejoin the Single Euro Payments Area, which allows for faster bank transfers throughout Europe.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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