The Vatican says prosecutors have seized documents and electronic devices from offices of its Secretariat of State and its financial authority as part of a finance probe.

“This morning activities were carried out to acquire documents and electronic devices from certain offices of the First Section of the Secretariat of State and the State Financial Information Authority,” a Vatican statement read.

The Vatican said the operation, authorised by prosecutor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy Alessandro Diddi, was “linked to the complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Works of Religion and the Office of the General Auditor, regarding financial transactions carried out over time”.

It said the heads of the departments involved had been informed ahead of the raid but gave no further details as to the raid and the material found.

The Secretariat of State, the Catholic Church’s governing body works closely with Pope Francis.

The Financial Information Authority is an anti-money laundering authority designed to lend transparency to operations by the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) – which acts as the Vatican Bank.

Vatican authorities define the IOR’s mission as providing financial services to the Catholic Church across the world. In the past, it has become embroiled in political and financial scandals. (AFP)