The historic trial against Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine others over suspicious financial transactions at the state secretariat began before the Vatican Tribunal on Tuesday. After the first day, the test was postponed until 5 October.
It is recalled that for the first time in nearly 300 years, a cardinal accused of financial fraud appeared before the Vatican Tribunal. After the hearing, Cardinal Baqiu expressed hope that the judges would recognize his innocence.
The charges of 10 of the defendants include embezzlement, financial crimes, corruption, fraud, extortion and abuse of office during investments made by the Secretariat of State in London. It is about buying an apartment in a luxury district in 2014 for the amount of 200 million euros. Proceedings in this case were launched at the Vatican two years ago, when it was discovered that the purchase of a house in Sloane Square had also been used for the Pope’s charitable activities.
The trial began in the Vatican Museum rooms provided to the tribunal, due to the large number of accused and the lawyers representing them and journalists who observed the trial.
The accused include former heads of the Vatican’s financial supervision unit and two Italian brokers, including Cardinal Bacchiu, former deputy secretary of the Holy See and former prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
René Brüllhardt, former head of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), has been accused of abuse of power. The same allegation was heard by Father Mauro Carlino, who worked in the Secretariat of State; He is also accused of extortion. Former AIF director Tommaso Di Ruza is responsible for the misappropriation of money.
Businessman Enrico Crasso is facing charges of corruption, extortion, money laundering and fraud. Cardinal Baciu’s aide, Cecilia Marogna, who received large sums of money from the Secretariat of State as an adviser for special diplomatic assignments, has been accused of embezzlement.
Also included are Italian-Swiss financier Raphael Mincione, lawyer Nicola Squilas, former administrative office employee at the Secretariat of State Fabrizio Tirabasi and broker Gianluigi Torzzi, who, according to investigators, forced 15 million euros from the Vatican for another transaction.
All face prison sentences and fines.
At the end of the trial, 73-year-old Cardinal Baqiu said he had “always been obedient to the Pope”. – I am calm, my conscience is clear and I am sure that the judge will be able to judge the facts. I have great hope and confidence that they will recognize my innocence, said the dignitary.
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