Monday, January 21, 2013
How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions
Papacy used offshore tax havens to create £500m international portfolio, featuring real estate in UK, France and Switzerland
Behind Pope Benedict XVI is a porfolio of property that includes commercial premises on London's New Bond Street. Photograph: Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis
Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James's Square and Pall Mall. But these office blocks in one of London's most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.
Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
|Mayan man in the mask, Spaceman or Scuba Diver?|
Dad was P-38 flight instructor in the first part of the war, and good instructors were too valuable to waste sending overseas as the US Army Air Corps trained thousands of pilots for WWII. As near as I can tell from the time frame and locations of his service, he was probably one of the P-38 flight instructors of the Tuskegee Airmen in Georgia. Dad said they did really well. I haven't got all of dad's records yet from the military so I am not 100% sure of that, but its very likely as he was also in Foggia Italy the same time they were. Still trying to determine if his war records were lost in a fire. My father also flew fighter escort for President Roosevelt's plane trip to Yalta. He drank vodka with our Russian and British allies there. Mom has his flight log book where the days are simply marked "secret".
I heard so many adventures of those years in the North African campaign, the invasion of Sicily and Italy and his dive bombing runs over the Alps into Germany and how if he got shot down they told them to take a certain street car in Belgrade and the conductor would get him out via the Yugoslavian underground resistance. My Uncle was decorated for valor by General Mark Clark at Anzio. I don't think Dad ever adjusted to boring civilian life. It never quite lived up to those years in the Air Force.