Vatican demands accountability for millions of euros defrauded

Vatican demands accountability for millions of euros defrauded

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The first trial in a massive fraud that prompted the world’s smallest state to invest in a luxury building in London began at the Vatican on Tuesday. Millions have been lost. At least ten defendants must be present, including Cardinal Angelo Basic, former number three of the Vatican.

With our correspondent in Rome, Eric Senanque

Unusually, the courtroom is set up in a former annex to the Vatican Museums, as the court of the world’s smallest state did not have enough space to present ten defendants at the same time.

With a file of about 30,000 pages, this unprecedented mega-trial could last two years. A Cardinal, Angelo Becciù, a financier, a lawyer, a broker, but also the former boss of the Vatican Bank, or an obscure adviser are on top and the file is huge. The charges are numerous: fraud, embezzlement, corruption or even abuse of power. The magistrates will try to understand how the Pontifical was able to invest hundreds of millions of euros in the desire to buy a luxury building in London on Sloane Square and damage, what is more than the removal of part of the wealth of “Saint Peter’, Commonly used for papal donations around the world.

But behind the London building, nearly ten years of risky financial investments will be contested. A “clean hand” operation presented by many observers as a turning point in the Vatican’s financial transparency.

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