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FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 record photo, Cardinal Angelo Becciu talks to journalists during property league successful Rome. A proceedings is slated to statesman connected Tuesday, July 27, 2021 wrong the Vatican Citys imposing walls of 10 defendants, including once-powerful cardinal Becciu, successful a lawsuit based connected a sprawling probe into the allegedly transgression absorption of the Holy Sees portfolio of assets, including donations by countless Catholics from the pews. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
VATICAN CITY – A proceedings is slated to statesman connected Tuesday wrong the Vatican City’s imposing walls of 10 defendants, including a once-powerful cardinal, successful a lawsuit based connected a sprawling probe into the allegedly transgression absorption of the Holy See’s portfolio of assets, including donations by countless Catholics from the pews.
Among the defendants is an Italian prelate, Angelo Becciu, a longtime Vatican diplomat whom Pope Francis raised to cardinal’s fertile successful 2018. After a web of scandals started unraveling during a two-year investigation, Francis gave Becciu the footwear past twelvemonth arsenic main of the Catholic church’s saint-making office. Not waiting for find retired the eventual verdict of a Vatican court, Francis besides has removed Becciu's rights arsenic a cardinal.
Less than 3 months ago, it would person been intolerable for a cardinal to beryllium successful the dock successful Vatican City State, which has its ain justness strategy and adjacent a jail. But Francis had a Vatican instrumentality changed truthful that Vatican-based cardinals and bishops tin beryllium prosecuted and judged by the Holy See’s laic transgression tribunal arsenic agelong arsenic the pontiff signs disconnected connected that. Previously, Vatican cardinals could lone beryllium judged by their peers, a tribunal of 3 chap cardinals.
Becciu, 73, is charged with embezzlement and with pressing a monsignor to recant accusation helium supplied to prosecutors astir the handling of the disastrous Vatican existent property concern successful London. Becciu has denied immoderate wrongdoing.
Since a astir 500-page indictment was issued successful aboriginal July, prosecutors person filed immoderate 30,000 pages of supplemental documentation.
Defense lawyers accidental they haven't capable clip to survey the material.
The presiding judge, Giuseppe Pignatone, is simply a retired main authoritative of Rome who earlier successful his vocation took connected the Mafia and economical wrongdoing successful Sicily.
To accommodate the largest transgression proceedings successful the Vatican’s modern history, the hearings are being held successful a ample hallway converted into a courtroom successful the Vatican Museums.
A excavation of reporters accredited with the Vatican is being allowed to travel the proceedings successful court, but their accounts aren't allowed to beryllium filed until aft the day's proceeding ends.
Defendants are alleged to person had assorted roles successful actions that efficaciously outgo the Holy See tens of millions of dollars successful donated funds done mediocre investments, dealings with shady wealth managers and purported favors to friends and family.
Looming ample successful the indictment is the London woody approved by the Vatican secretariat of state. An archetypal 200 cardinal euros (now astir $240 million) was sunk into a money operated by an Italian businessman. Half that wealth went into the existent property task successful the swank Chelsea neighborhood, an concern which yet outgo 350 cardinal euros. By 2018, the archetypal concern was losing money, and the Vatican scrambled to find an exit strategy.
Defendants see Cecilia Marogna, who was hired by Becciu arsenic an outer information consultant. Prosecutors allege she embezzled 575,000 euros successful Vatican funds that Becciu had authorized for usage arsenic a ransom to escaped Catholic hostages abroad. Marogna has contended that charges she ran up were reimbursement of her intelligence-related expenses and different wealth was her compensation.
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