The Jerusalem Post

Cardinal among 10 indicted by Vatican for financial crimes


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A prominent Italian cardinal was among 10 sent to trial in the Vatican on Saturday charged with financial crimes including embezzleme­nt, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, formerly a senior official in the Vatican administra­tion, as well as two top officials at the

Vatican’s Financial Intelligen­ce Unit will go on trial on July 27 over a multi-million euro scandal involving the Vatican’s purchase of a building in one of London’s stylish districts.

The trial will inevitably bring a swirl of media interest to the tiny city-state surrounded by Rome, and appears to underscore Pope Francis’s determinat­ion to cure the rot in Vatican finances, even if it involves messy public hearings.

Becciu, 73, whom the pope fired from his senior clerical post last year for alleged nepotism, and who has always maintained his innocence during a twoyear investigat­ion, becomes the most senior Vatican official to be charged with financial crimes.

The pope personally gave the required approval last week for Becciu to be indicted, according to a 487-page indictment request seen by Reuters. The Vatican

announced the indictment­s in a two-page statement.

The charges against Becciu include embezzleme­nt and abuse of office. An Italian woman who worked for him was charged with embezzleme­nt and the cardinal’s former secretary, Father Mauro Carlino, was accused of extortion.

Becciu said in a statement that he was a victim of a “machinatio­n” and reaffirmed his “absolute innocence.”

Carlino’s lawyer said his client was innocent, had been “acting under orders,” and had saved the Vatican millions of euros. He said starting a trial so soon did not give defense lawyers enough time to prepare.

Two Italian brokers, Gianluigi Torzi and Raffaele Mincione, were charged with embezzleme­nt, fraud and money laundering. Torzi, for whom Italian magistrate­s issued an arrest warrant in April, was also charged with extortion.

There was no immediate response to attempts to reach their lawyers, but both men have consistent­ly denied wrongdoing.

Four companies associated with individual defendants, two in Switzerlan­d, one in the United States and one in Slovenia, were also indicted, according to the document.

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