The Vatican sentences Cardinal Angelo Becciu to five and a half years in prison over a financial scandal

He Vatican City Court condemned the cardinal today Angelo Becciu To 5 ½ years in prison through a financial scandal when he was the powerful replacement for the Foreign Ministertogether with others eight defendants found guilty a huge gap in the Holy See’s accounts.

The President of the Vatican Court, Giuseppe Pignatoneannounced the verdict this Saturday afternoon after four hours of deliberations while the cardinal was not in the room.

Becciu, a 75-year-old Italian, first cardinal to be charged in a Vatican criminal trialwas sentenced to a prison sentence of 5 years and six months for breach of trust or breach of trust, to pay a 8,000 euros fine Still those “permanent” disqualification hold any public office.

A major accounting gap

The verdict came afterwards two and a half years of complicated process and 85 spectators and amid notorious media expectations, particularly due to Becciu’s previous weight, which was between 2011 and 2018 “Number 3” Vaticanthe powerful General Affairs replacement for the Secretary of State.

The scandal broke in 2019 when it came to light Purchase of a building in London by the Foreign Minister, which led to a highly speculative operation create a hole of at least 139 million euros in the Holy See’s accounts.

Building, a former headquarters of the Harrods galleries on the exclusive London street Sloane AveBut it cost the Vatican around 350 million euros at the time was sold for £186 million (around 214 million euros).

However, this acquisition was ultimately used to blackmail the Vatican This shows the lack of transparency and irregularities in the Holy See’s accounts.

In addition, other financial crimes allegedly committed by Becciu came to light during the trial, such as: Donations amounting to 125,000 euros that the cardinal paid into the account of an association linked to the Sardinian Caritas of Ozieriwhich was headed by one of his brothers at the time.

Just like him Payment of 575,000 euros to Cecilia Marognaa woman who was hired because she posed as an expert in diplomatic affairs and intelligence and who allegedly helped the Holy See free the Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali.

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Ready for the resource

The Promoter of Justice or Prosecutor of the Vatican, Alessandro Diddi, had demanded a prison sentence of 7 years and 3 months for the cardinal But although the court ultimately reduced the sentence to five and a half years, it expressed “satisfaction” that it had not charged any innocent people during those years.

“This afternoon I know that a lot of our work was well instructed,” he told the media after hearing the verdict.

The cardinal, for years one of the most influential men in the Roman Curiahas passed through his lawyers in his innocence and declared that he would appeal the verdict because he saw the accusation as “machinations” by the Vatican to expel him.

Nine convictions and one acquittal

However, Becciu was not the only one affected by this sentence on the eve of Christmas, but rather another eight of the ten defendants were convictedeveryone except the one who was his secretary, Mauro Carlinothe only one who was acquitted in the trial.

The biggest shame of 7 and a half years out of prison, relapsed Fabrizio TirabassiEmployee of the administrative office of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

And the smaller ones, Fines of 1,750 euroswere for the former heads of the Vatican’s financial supervision and information agency, the Swiss president and lawyer René Brülhart and the former director Tommaso Di Ruzza.

The verdicts were aimed in particular at the financial brokers and intermediaries in the real estate business, who were accused of profiteering and defrauding the Holy See.

Enrico Crasso He was sentenced to 7 years in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros; Raffaele Mincione up to 5 ½ years; Nicola Squillace to one year and ten months in prison; And Gianluigi Torzi up to 6 years and nine months, all with Prohibition from holding public office.

While the businesswoman Cecilia Marogna, Becciu’s adviser, portrayed in Vatican circles as a diplomacy expert, was also sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, with a “temporary” ban on holding public office.

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