Italy: Police seek arrest of Italian middleman in Vatican property deal

Italian magistrates have issued an arrest warrant for Gianluigi Torzi, a financial broker caught up in a scandal involving the Vatican’s purchase of a building in an upscale London area, police said on Monday.

Financial police said in a statement that they were looking for Torzi and three Italian associates on suspicion of fraudulent billing practices and tax fraud. Torzi was also suspected of money laundering.

A financial police spokesman said they could not serve the warrant on Torzi because he was currently in Britain.

Torzi’s London-based lawyer, Francesco Meduri, did not respond to a request for comment left with his office. Torzi’s Italian lawyer, Ambra Giovene, said she would file an appeal against the arrest warrant.

Police code-named it “Operation Broking bad,” an apparent play on the TV series “Breaking Bad”.

A separate 14-page arrest warrant seen by Reuters said Torzi had issued bills to the Vatican for a total of 15 million euros for work the Italian magistrate said was never carried out.

Torzi was one of the middlemen in a complicated deal by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State in the purchase of a building in Chelsea with Church funds.

He has denied wrongdoing in the Vatican deal.

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