A Vatican official offered a prostitute to a businessman as a show of gratitude for brokering a £300 million deal to buy the landmark Chelsea block office in West London, the High Court was told. Gianluigi Torzi served as the middleman in negotiations over the property earmarked for luxury flats.
Torzi has claimed that Vatican lay official Fabrizio Tirabassi tried to thank him by offering a prostitute but he declined the same. Tirabassi also threatened his life and the lives of his children, Torzi said in written evidence to the Court.
The 42 year old businessman also claimed that Tirabassi had boasted of blackmailing clergymen which prompted him to report the matter to Pope Francis. Earlier, the judge had slammed Vatican prosecutors for misrepresenting the investment into the real estate deal in front of the court.
The Vatican had alleged that it was cheated when they had to spend £300 million for the building in 2018, claiming that the same had been sold for £129 million six years earlier. Torzi, along with Tirabassi, senior cleric Monsignor Alberto Perlasca and London financier Raffaello Mincione, were accused of conspiring to “fleece the church jurisdiction out of millions in fees in negotiations, but Judge Tony Baumgartner last week reversed a decision to seize his bank accounts and awarded him legal fees”, the Daily Mail reported.
The property’s previous owner has denied any wrongdoing on his part and filed two separate legal cases against the Holy See, the central governing body of the Catholic Church.
‘I do not consider there is reasonable cause to believe that Mr Torzi has benefited from criminal conduct,’ as the Vatican alleged, the Judge reportedly wrote.