Vatican indicts 10 people, including Cardinal, in UK deal

Rome — Saturday’s Vatican judge charges a once-powerful lord on charges of embezzlement, abuse of authority, blackmail, fraud, etc. in connection with the State Secretariat’s € 350 million investment in a London real estate venture. Indicted 10 people including.

Giuseppe Pignatone, chairman of the Vatican Criminal Court, set July 27 as the trial date, but the defendant’s lawyer has not yet officially received either the indictment or the document, so the trial is immediate. I questioned how to prepare for. Case.

The indictment on page 487 was inherited after a vast two-year investigation into how the Department of State managed its vast asset portfolio, much of which was funded by Peter’s Pence donations from believers. A scandal over millions of dollars in losses has led to a sharp decline in donations, urging Pope Francis to deprive him of his ability to manage money.

Five former Vatican officials, including Cardinal Angelo Bechiu and two State Department officials, and an Italian businessman who handled the investment in London were charged.

He was also charged with misappropriation for purchasing luxury goods with Holy See money to help free Catholic priests and nuns held hostage by African rebels. He was an Italian intelligence expert.

Vatican prosecutors have charged the main suspect with millions of euros from the Holy See, primarily for fees and other losses related to financial investments funded by donations to the Pope for charity. I’m blaming you. The suspect denied cheating.

Italian broker Gianluigi Torzi, one of the main suspects in the case, has been accused of forcing the Vatican from € 15 million to transfer ownership of the London building in late 2018. Ownership of the building from another indicted money manager who processed the initial investment in 2013 but lost millions for saying the Vatican was a speculative and rude deal.

Vatican prosecutors allege that Torzi inserted a last-minute clause into the contract, giving him full voting rights in the contract.

However, the Vatican hierarchy approved the contract, with Pope No. 2, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and his deputy both approving it. Neither was prosecuted. In addition, Francis himself was aware of the deal and Torzi’s involvement.

Vatican prosecutors say the Vatican hierarchy was complained by Torzi and agreed to the deal with partial help from an Italian lawyer who was also charged on Saturday. The State Department will declare the party injured in this case.

Tolji denied the accusation, stating that the accusation was the result of a misunderstanding. He is currently in London, waiting for a surrender request from the Italian authorities who are trying to prosecute him on other financial charges.

His representative said they did not make an immediate comment on Saturday because they had not yet seen the indictment.

In addition, Cardinal Angelo Bechiu, a former Pope candidate and Holy See official, was indicted. He helped design London’s initial investment when he was Chief of Staff of the State Department.

Francis fired him last year as the Vatican’s saint-making chief. This is clearly related to another issue. A € 100,000 donation of Holy Place funds to a parish charity run by the Bechiu brothers.

Vatican News, an internal media portal, said Bechiu was not originally part of London’s investigation, but was included after he appeared to be behind a proposal to buy a building. The prosecution also accused him of interfering with the investigation.

In a statement released Saturday by a lawyer, Bechiu claimed “absolute falsehood” of the accusation against him and accused him of “unparalleled media looting” in the Italian press.

“I am a victim of a conspiracy that hatched against me, and I have been waiting for a long time to know the accusations against me, to immediately deny them, and to be able to prove my absolute innocence to the world. “He said.

Becciu has denied cheating in investing in London. He admitted that he had made a donation, but claimed that the money was for a charity, not his brother.

Cecilia Marogna, one of Becciu’s disciples, was charged with embezzlement. Becciu hired Marogna as an outside consultant after contacting Marogna in 2015 with concerns about the security of the Vatican embassy in a global hotspot. According to a WhatsApp message reprinted by the Italian media, Bechiu granted her hundreds of thousands of euros of Holy See funding to free the Catholic hostages.

Her Slovenian-based holding company, which received the funds, was also one of the four companies ordered to stand in court.

Marogna said the money was for legal security and intelligence compensation and repayment of her expenses. Vatican News quoted the indictment, saying she spent money on purchases that were incompatible with the humanitarian scope of her company.

In a statement on Saturday, her legal team said Marogna had been prepared for months to “provide a complete explanation of her work and be afraid of any accusations made against her.” I did.

Two former Vatican financial oversight officials have also been charged with abuse of authority. According to Vatican News, prosecutors said they played a “decisive function” to get Torzi to do it because it couldn’t stop trading.

Former Executive Secretary Tommasodi Ruzza’s lawyer said he had only seen the Vatican’s press statement on the allegations, but his client said, “For the exclusive benefit, always do the law and his duties best. I have acted with caution and respect. ” Of the holy seat. “

Former office director Rene Bruelhart defended his work and his indictment was “a procedural failure immediately revealed by the Vatican judiciary as soon as the defense was able to exercise its rights.” Said there is.

Nicole Winfield

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