VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Vatican police on Tuesday raided the department in charge of maintenance and restoration at St. Peter’s Basilica, seizing documents and computers for an investigation into suspected corruption.
The raid was similar to one last October that involved another investigation into a separate department over the purchase of a building in a posh area of London.
A statement from the Vatican press office said the material was seized from the technical and administrative offices of the Fabbrica di San Pietro. It traces its origins to the 15th century, even before construction of the current basilica began.
Vatican magistrates ordered the raid following a tip from the office of the general auditor, the statement said, without giving details. It said Pope Francis appointed a commissioner to run the department temporarily.
The commissioner was tasked with reorganising the department and updating its statutes in the wake of a June 1 papal document that introduced sweeping new rules for procurement and spending to reduce the risk of corruption in awarding contracts..
The statement specifically mentioned the new rules, which suggested Tuesday’s raid may have something to do with the awarding of a contract.
The department is currently overseeing the restoration of the basilica’s dome, which recently has been partly covered by scaffolding.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)