The Vatican has launched an investigation in the Sistine Chapel Choir, after claims that members of the world-renowned choir may be involved in embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.
The Vatican issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that Pope Francis had authorised an investigation into possible financial irregularities in the choir, which is one of the world’s oldest singing groups.
The statement came just hours after a report in La Stampa newspaper about the choir, which said Vatican magistrates were investigating the choir’s manager, who is a layman, and its director, who is a priest, on suspicion of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.
The Vatican statement said only that the pope had authorised the investigation several months ago and that it was continuing.
Efforts by Reuters to reach the two men for comment were unsuccessful. La Stampa website also had no comment from them.
Last May, the choir, which is made up of men and young boys and has a recording contract with a major label, performed at the gala opening of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.“
Its summer tour of the United States was cancelled without official explanation in July.
Founded in 1471, it is believed to be the world’s oldest choir, with roots going back to the Schola Cantorum instituted by Pope Saint Gregory the Great around the year 600.