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VATICAN CITY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - A review of money transfers from the Vatican to Australia showed the amount sent between 2014 and 2020 was a fraction of the A$2.3 billion ($1.77 billion) originally reported - to widespread astonishment -- by Australia's financial watchdog, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
The joint Vatican-Australian review showed only A$9.5 million ($7.35 million) transited. The Vatican contested the huge figures in December and asked the Australian financial intelligence unit, known as AUSTRAC, to review its calculations.
AUSTRAC's error was first reported by the Australian newspaper earlier on Wednesday, which said it was due to a computer coding mistake.
A Vatican statement called the mistake "a huge discrepancy" and that the A$9.5 million sent to Australia was mostly to meet "contractual obligations" as well as "ordinary management," which appeared to be a reference to its embassy in Australia.
The original report of the huge amount of money and more than 47,000 individual transfers stunned the Vatican, which demanded a review.
The Australian said AUSTRAC had told the newspaper that the new calculations showed there had been only 362 transfers in that period.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane told Reuters last month that the Australian Church was not aware of any such transfers, that the money did not go to a diocese or Church entity in the country, and that the bishops sought clarification from the Vatican and AUSTRAC. ($1 = 1.2923 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean)