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Vatican: Police raid top offices in finance probe

Prosecutors seized "documents and electronic devices" on Tuesday, the Vatican said, from some of its highest offices as part of a finance probe.

Vatican: Police raid top offices in finance probe
Photo: Depositphotos

“This morning activities were carried out to acquire documents and electronic devices from certain offices of the First Section of the Secretariat of State and the State Financial Information Authority,” a Vatican statement read.

The Vatican said the operation, authorised by prosecutor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy Alessandro Diddi, was “linked to the complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Works of Religion and the Office of the General Auditor, regarding financial transactions carried out over time.”

It said the heads of the departments involved had been informed ahead of the raid but gave no further details regarding the raid and the material found.

The Secretariat of State is the Catholic Church's governing body and most powerful office, which works closely with Pope Francis.

The Financial Information Authority (FIA) is an anti-money laundering authority designed to lend transparency to operations by the Institute of Religious Works (IOR),which acts as the Vatican Bank.

The IOR handles the accounts of Vatican employees as well as clerics, religious congregations and diplomats affiliated with the Holy See.

The institution has become embroiled in political and financial scandals repeatedly over the past few decades.

Two former heads of the IOR were handed prison terms in 2017 over “dubious transactions”, while an Italian businessman was last year found guilty of money laundering by a Vatican court 

Last year, a former head of the Vatican bank also faced trial over money laundering and embezzlement connected with property deals. The trial is ongoing, and it is not known if yesterday's raid was connected to the case.

Such scandals prompted Vatican officials to pledge to clean up the bank, and some 5,000 bank accounts have been closed in recent years, first under Pope Benedict XVI and then under the current pontiff Pope Francis.

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PROPERTY

Revealed: The most expensive places in Italy to buy a house in 2022

Many factors are at play when deciding where to purchase a home in Italy. To help you decide, here are the most expensive and sought-after locations in Italy, according to the latest data.

Revealed: The most expensive places in Italy to buy a house in 2022

Searching for the right property in Italy involves a balancing act of location, price, convenience and how much, if any, restoration work needs to be done.

Budget usually tops the list for house-hunters, narrowing down the number of potentials for making your move to or within Italy.

If the entire country is your blank slate, here are the areas in Italy that rank as the most expensive – and desired – according to data from property portal Idealista for the first quarter of 2022.

The report ranks the top 100 municipalities according to popularity, based on those listings generating the most leads (email contacts and shares) and those where the average final sale price is highest.

READ ALSO: How bargain homes made one Italian town €100 million in two years

Taking the top spot for the most expensive place to buy in Italy is Pietrasanta in Versilia, in the province of Lucca, which the researchers also state holds first place in the top 100 most expensive places to rent a house too.

This area includes the playground of the rich, Forte dei Marmi, where the average selling price of a house is over half a million euros (€541,351).

The table below shows the full ranking.

In second place is Alassio, in the province of Savona, where homebuyers will on average shell out €467,019 for a residential property (again, valid for the first quarter of 2022).

Venice comes in at third place, where the average asking price is €433,640.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The hidden costs of buying a home in Italy

In the top 10 spots, the report noted that the most expensive properties are in tourist resorts, possibly driven by those wanting second homes in popular locations.

Such locations include Lerici, Riccione, Desenzano del Garda, Camaiore and Cervia, while the cities of Florence and Milan, where average sale prices exceed €350,000, have also made the top 10.

The study revealed that the final average price of a house for sale in Rome is €273,341.

Researchers also looked at popularity of locations, based on pressure of demand on supply across Italy.

Bologna topped the charts, making it the city with the highest number of contacts per advert (4.7) of houses for sale published on idealista. Cagliari followed in second with 3.8 contacts per advert and Milan (3.4 contacts per advert). Trieste, Naples, Rome, Salerno, Brescia, Verona and Lecce also made the top 10.

READ ALSO: 15 insider tips to make living in Bologna even better

Here’s a selection of the most popular places to buy in Italy based on the report data, narrowed down to the top 20.

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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