The use and final designation of the Papal Foundation funds has been the subject of controversy among Papal Foundation leaders. The grant request, originally for $25 million, was presented by the Secretariat of State, reportedly for the purpose of injecting liquidity in the IDI during its return to profitability. CNA has reported that the actual intention of the funds was to cover the loan at APSA.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, former second-ranking official at the Secretariat of State, told CNA this month that the approach to the Papal Foundation was devised specifically to help repay the debt.
“If I remember well, it was because the APSA couldn’t give the loan [due to its Moneyval agreements] and then Parolin talking with Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl saw this [approach to the Papal Foundation] as the solution.”
CNA asked Cardinal Parolin if he and Cardinal Wuerl had worked together on “soliciting a grant from the American Papal Foundation to help offset the debt incurred by APSA as a result of this loan.” Cardinal Parolin confirmed that he had.
“The operations involving IDI, as described, are ascribable to myself,” Parolin told CNA, insisting that there was nothing “non-transparent, irregular or even illegal” about the plan, which he described as being conducted “with fair intentions and honest means.”
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Earlier this year, the $13 million in grants sent by the Papal Foundation were reclassified as “loans” by the Secretariat of State, senior figures at the Papal Foundation have told CNA that, rather than be repaid, the $13 million will be “discounted” against future grant requests made by the Secretariat.
Leopazza also said that the Foundazione Luigi Maria Monti had not received “financing” from APSA or the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital in Rome. Nor were any “debts” to either body owed by the foundation to the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception related the “endowment fund” used to finance the IDI’s purchase, Leopazza said.
No media reports have suggested the IDI, the foundation, or the religious order, had received “financing” or loans from Bambino Gesu.
However 2014 wiretaps recorded Versaldi arranging for 30 million in government funds granted to Bambino Gesu to be diverted to the purchase of IDI. The wiretaps recorded Versaldi discussing the plan with Giuseppe Profiti, president of Bambino Gesu, who agreed with the cardinal to conceal from Pope Francis the misdirection of funds.
Versaldi and Profiti both denied any wrongdoing; the cardinal claimed he only wanted to spare the pope the technical details of the efforts to save the IDI.
Leopazza, an attorney, has taught business law at Italian universities, served as a consultant to the Italian government, and was the vice president of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees.