How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolinis millions
Interesting source of funds for the Church.
Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St Jamess Square and Pall Mall.
But these office blocks in one of Londons most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.
Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the churchs international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.