Ibac won’t investigate allegations Vatican funds were sent to Australia to frame George Pell | George Pell

Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission says it will not investigate claims that Vatican funds were sent to Australia as part of a conspiracy to frame George Pell for child sex offences.

The commission issued a short statement on Wednesday afternoon confirming it had received information based on media reports regarding the alleged transfer, but would not investigate.

“Ibac confirms it received information based on media reports which alleged Vatican funds were transferred to individuals in support of the recent case against George Pell,” it said.

“Ibac has reviewed the information and found the threshold to commence inquiries or an investigation was not met. This matter would only be further considered if any additional, credible information is received relevant to Ibac’s jurisdiction.

“The provision of a media report to Ibac without further substance is unlikely, in most cases, to be sufficient to initiate an investigation.”

In September Italian newspapers published claims that a Vatican rival of Pell, Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, had made a $1.1m payment to undisclosed recipients in Australia to secure a conviction against Pell, with whom he had clashed over attempts to reform the Vatican’s finances.

Becciu strongly denied the claims, which were made after he had resigned from the Vatican under a cloud for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars in church finances – an allegation he also denies.

“They accuse me of embezzlement and of favouring [my] brothers, surreal,” Becciu told reporters during a press conference in Rome. “I have not enriched my family. I hope the pope realises that it is all a misunderstanding.”

Pell was charged with child sexual offences by Victorian police in June 2017 and was later convicted, but the high court of Australia overturned the convictions in April this year. He has since returned to the Vatican.

The Australian federal police are believed to be the only law enforcement body in the country which are still investigating if there is any merit to the claims.

In October the chief executive of Austrac, the government agency responsible for anti-money laundering laws, confirmed during a Senates estimates hearing that it had referred information regarding the transfer of funds from the Vatican to the AFP and Victoria police.

The AFP then said it was reviewing the information but had referred some aspects of the information to Ibac. The force has been contacted for comment.

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