Australian bishops puzzled by reported money transfers from Vatican


January 5, 2021

By Inés San Martín

Australia’s bishops are seeking answers after the country’s financial watchdog reported that there have been over 47,000 separate transfers from the Vatican or affiliates worth $1.8 billion in the past seven years.

Both the Vatican and the Australian church have denied knowledge of the transfers, made public in December by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), in response to a parliamentary question by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. The amount of the transactions was first reported by the local newspaper The Australian.

The transfers from the Vatican to Australia rose rapidly from $71.6 million in 2014 to $137.1 million in 2015 before doubling again to $ 295 million in 2016 and peaking at $581.3 million in 2017, according to Austrac disclosures in response to Fierravantti-Well’s questions during Senate estimation hearings.

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