Pope Francis has stripped the Vatican's Secretariat of State of control over its own funds, moving them to the supervision of its economic offices in an attempt to contain the fallout of a scandal over a luxury London property deal.
The Secretariat of State is the most important department in the Vatican administration, overseeing the Holy See's diplomacy and general affairs inside the Vatican and has historically controlled its own funds, investments and real estate holdings.
An investigation into the London deal, which involved several middlemen, led to the suspension last year of five Vatican employees, the resignation of its police chief and the exit of the former head of its Financial Information Authority.
In a letter released by the Vatican press office on Thursday, the pontiff said he was transferring all the assets to a Vatican department called APSA, which will manage them while they will be overseen by the Secretariat for the Economy.
The Secretariat of State's assets include an annual fund for Pope Francis' charities, which is known as Peter's Pence.
In September, Pope Francis fired Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was number two at the Secretariat when it purchased a building in London as an investment.
Becciu has denied any wrongdoing after allegations of embezzlement and nepotism.