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A Divine Discount? Private Equity Firm Buys Scandal-Hit London Property From The Vatican

The Vatican lost more than £100M on a London property investment deal.

Private equity firm Bain Capital has bought a mixed-use London property from the Vatican that is at the centre of an ongoing corruption trial.

Bain paid £186M for the 172K SF 60 Sloane Avenue in Kensington, west London, the Vatican said in a statement last week. A Vatican investment fund paid about £320M for the building in 2014, Reuters reported. The building is a mix of offices, apartments and retail units.

When it comes to real estate, Bain is better known for investing in assets like nonperforming loans, but a sale forced by a high-profile investigation has given the firm the opportunity to buy a significant building in one of London’s poshest postcodes. 

A corruption trial about the amount the Vatican paid for the building is ongoing, with 10 people under investigation, including a cardinal. All deny any wrongdoing. 

The deal was undertaken by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, and as a result of the scandal surrounding the deal, the Secretariat had control of its own investment funds removed. 

Reuters estimated that the Vatican lost more than £100M on the deal. The Vatican said contributions from the Catholic faithful were not used to cover the losses.