Cardinal Angelo Becciu will face a courtroom this month, as Vatican prosecutors have filed charges against ten individuals in a sprawling Vatican financial scandal under investigation for two years.
Indictments were announced July 3. Trial will begin this month, the Vatican press office said Saturday.
The cardinal and nine other people will face trial on charges including embezzlement, abuse of office, fraud, extortion, corruption, money laundering, and forgery of official documents. Cardinal Becciu is the most senior former Vatican official to face charges, and one of only two clerics to be summoned to trial by the Vatican City state tribunal.
The trials will charge misconduct over years of investments and financial transactions at the Vatican Secretariat of State, culminating in the 2018 purchase of a London investment property.
The complicated process of purchasing that property allegedly involved extortion, bribes, illegal borrowing and spending, money laundering, document falsification and a host of other alleged crimes by the building’s owners, the sale’s broker, and several Vatican officials, reaching in Becciu the highest levels of Vatican administration.
Since an investigation into that purchase begin, Becciu has already been stripped of the prerogatives of a cardinal, has been accused of funding an off-books spy network operated by a “security consultant,” who will now also face trial, and of attempting to hide investments and financial transactions from Vatican oversight.
The Vatican trial of a cardinal for crimes of financial misconduct marks a major milestone in Pope Francis’ promise to reform Vatican curial operations and mandate financial accountability.
Even after Becciu was effectively fired from the Vatican curia in September 2020, and stripped of most benefits that come with membership in the College of Cardinals, some Vatican observers predicted the affair would eventually blow over. When Pope Francis celebrated Holy Thursday Mass privately with Becciu in April, critics of the pontiff and supporters of Becciu both predicted it was a likely first step toward the eventual rehabilitation of the cardinal.
But Francis has said frequently that prosecutors in the investigation were empowered to follow it to whatever parties should be held accountable for financial misconduct….
The above comes from a July 3 posting in The Pillar.