October 19, 2021

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Cardinal amongst 10 indicted by Vatican for economical crimes

A notable Italian cardinal was between 10 people despatched to trial in the Vatican on Saturday billed with monetary crimes which include embezzlement, revenue laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of business office.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, formerly a senior formal in the Vatican administration, as properly as two leading officials at the Vatican’s Economical Intelligence Device will go on demo on July 27 in excess of a multi-million euro scandal involving the Vatican’s order of a making in one particular of London’s smartest districts.

The demo will inevitably convey a swirl of media desire to the very small town-condition surrounded by Rome, and appears to underscore Pope Francis’ dedication to heal the rot in Vatican funds, even if it includes messy public hearings.

Becciu, 73, whom the pope fired from his senior clerical put up last calendar year for alleged nepotism, and who has usually preserved his innocence in the course of a two-12 months investigation, gets to be the most senior Vatican official to be billed with economic crimes.

The pope personally gave the essential approval last week for Becciu to be indicted, in accordance to a 487-webpage indictment request noticed by Reuters. The Vatican declared the indictments in a two-page statement.

The prices against Becciu involve embezzlement and abuse of office environment. An Italian lady who labored for him was charged with embezzlement and the cardinal’s former secretary, a priest, was accused of extortion.

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

Two Italian brokers, Gianluigi Torzi and Raffaele Mincione, ended up charged with embezzlement, fraud and revenue laundering. Torzi, for whom Italian magistrates issued an arrest warrant in April, was also charged with extortion. There was no quick response to attempts to arrive at their lawyers, but both of those adult men have continuously denied wrongdoing.

4 companies related with particular person defendants, two in Switzerland, a person in the United States and just one in Slovenia, were also indicted, according to the document.

Law enforcement RAID

The investigation into the obtain of the building grew to become community on Oct. 1, 2019, when Vatican law enforcement raided the workplaces of the Secretariat of Point out, the administrative coronary heart of the Catholic Church, and individuals of the Vatican’s Financial Data Authority (AIF).

The then-president of the AIF, Rene Bruelhart, a 48-yr-old Swiss, and AIF’s former Italian director, Tommaso Di Ruzza, 46, have been charged with abuse of business office for allegedly failing to sufficiently guard the Vatican’s passions and providing Torzi what the indictment ask for called an “undue advantage”.

Di Ruzza was also accused of embezzlement related to alleged inappropriate use of his formal credit score card, and of divulging confidential information.

Bruelhart stated in a textual content information that he experienced “usually carried out my functions and responsibilities with correctness” and that “the real truth about my innocence will emerge.”

Di Ruzza did not promptly react to a voicemail requesting remark.

In 2014, the Secretariat of Point out invested more than 200 million euros, considerably of it from contributions from the devoted, in a fund run by Mincione, securing about 45% of a commercial and residential setting up at 60 Sloane Avenue in London’s South Kensington district.

The indictment request reported Mincione experienced experimented with to deceive the Vatican, which in 2018 tried using to conclusion the marriage.

It turned to Torzi for help in purchasing up the relaxation of the setting up, but afterwards accused him of extortion.


At the time, Becciu was in the final year of his write-up as deputy secretary of condition for typical affairs, a strong administrative placement that handles hundreds of tens of millions of euros.

All told, the Secretariat of Condition sank more than 350 million euros into the expenditure, in accordance to Vatican media, and suffered what Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, told Reuters final year were being “massive losses”.

Torzi was arrested in the Vatican in June 2020, and invested a 7 days in custody.

According to the indictment request, Becciu is billed with five counts of embezzlement, two of abuse of business, and one rely of inducing a witness to perjury. About 75 internet pages of the doc are dedicated to Becciu.

It states Becciu tried using to “greatly deflect” the inquiry into Vatican investments, including the London creating, and tried to discredit the investigating magistrates by means of the Italian media.

Becciu continued to have affect in excess of income transfers at the Secretariat even after he remaining the submit, the doc said.

The principal costs versus Becciu involve the alleged funnelling of revenue and contracts to firms or charitable organisations controlled by his brothers on their indigenous island of Sardinia.

Another Sardinian, Cecilia Maronga, 40, who labored for Becciu, was charged with embezzlement. Her cellphone was not connected.

The indictment request mentioned she experienced been given about 575,000 euros from the Secretariat of Point out in 2018-2019.

She has claimed on Italian television that the revenue, sent to her enterprise in Slovenia, was to ransom kidnapped missionaries in Africa. But the indictment ask for claimed much of it was utilized for “own reward”, such as the invest in of luxurious products.