Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Vatican: prison for a tried cardinal ; for financial fraud

Open in full screen mode

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu speaks to the media in 2020, after suddenly resigning and renouncing his right to participate in a possible conclave to elect a pope.

Agence France-Presse

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

The Vatican criminal court on Saturday in first instance sentenced a high-ranking Italian cardinal, tried with nine others for fraud, to five and a half years in prison following a trial over the Saint's financial operations. -Seat.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, 75, a former close adviser to Pope Francis, is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to appear before the Vatican's criminal court, the city-state's civil justice system, which gave him also imposed a fine of 8,000 euros.

We respect the verdict, but we will certainly file an appeal, declared hotly Mr. Fabio Vignone, the ;the cardinal's lawyer, assuring that his client is innocent.

At the heart of the trial: the purchase for 350 million euros of #x27;a luxury building in London between 2014 and 2018 as part of the investment activities of the Holy See.

This affair has relaunched the debate on the opacity of the finances of the Holy See, while Pope Francis has sought to clean up its operations since his election in 2013 He also reformed the judicial system so that bishops and cardinals could be judged by lay people and no longer exclusively by their religious peers.

LoadingDr. Julien fears the repercussions of the strike in Quebec schools

ELSE ON NEWS: Dr. Julien fears the repercussions of the strike in Quebec schools

The promoter of justice (prosecutor) Alessandro Diddi had requested sentences ranging from almost four years to more than 13 years in prison, in addition to financial sanctions, against the ten defendants who appear for fraud, embezzlement , abuse of power, money laundering, corruption and extortion.

Of the ten people prosecuted, one was acquitted, two others were sentenced to fines and another to a year and a half suspended prison sentence.

The heaviest sentence, seven and a half years in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros, was imposed on Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former employee of the State Secretariat who allegedly received commissions in this affair. /p>

Former number two in the Secretariat of State, the main organ of the central government of the Holy See at the heart of this transaction, Mgr Becciu has retained his title of cardinal but was dismissed from all functions in September 2020.

The court found Archbishop Becciu guilty of embezzlement because he ordered $200.5 million of Secretary of State funds to be paid between 2013 and 2014 to a highly speculative investment fund led by Raffaele Mincione, also sentenced to five and a half years in prison and a fine of 8,000 euros.

The court also found the cardinal guilty of having paid 125,000 euros to a cooperative managed by his brother and of having paid 570,000 euros to an intermediary for the release of a nun hostage in Africa, but which never served to achieve this objective.

The court also ordered the confiscation of the convicts' property from value of 166 million euros, as well as the payment of 200 million euros in damages to the civil parties, four Vatican institutions.

Over the course of 86 hearings in this so-called London building trial, the debates revealed the opacity of certain financial operations of the Holy See.

Among the highlights, the revelations concerning a telephone conversation between Mgr Becciu -on his initiative- with the pope and recorded without his knowledge, shortly before the start of the trial, in which he asked him to confirm having approved confidential financial movements.

This acquisition at an overvalued price highlighted the reckless use of St. Peter's Pence, the great annual collection of donations intended for the Pope's charitable actions .

The Vatican finally resold the 17,000 m2 building located in the very chic Chelsea district, at the price of a hefty loss, estimated between 140 and 190 million euros.

The affair dealt a serious blow to the reputation of the ;Church and Pope Francis, who multiplied reforms to clean up the finances of the Holy See and fight against fraud.

In addition to the creation of x27;a Secretariat for the Economy in 2014, the Argentine sovereign pontiff supervised the investments and activities of the Vatican Bank, in particular through the closure of 5,000 suspicious accounts.

By admin

Related Post