LOGIN

A Cardinal is convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to 5½ years in a major Vatican financial trial

by Sophia Chen
0 comment
Cardinal Becciu Vatican Trial

In a major Vatican financial trial, Cardinal Angelo Becciu has been convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison. This landmark verdict marks the first time a cardinal has been prosecuted by the Vatican criminal court. The trial, which spanned 2 ½ years, involved nearly 50 charges against various defendants, resulting in a combination of guilty verdicts and acquittals.

Becciu’s attorney, Fabrizio Viglione, has expressed respect for the sentence but plans to appeal. Prosecutor Alessandro Diddi has stated that the outcome validates the correctness of their case.

The trial’s complexity was acknowledged by Judge Giuseppe Pignatone at the outset, who commended both prosecutors and defense attorneys for their professionalism. It was indeed an unusual trial for the Vatican, characterized by its intricacy.

Cardinal Becciu’s case revolves around embezzlement-related charges related to a London investment deal. If convicted on these charges, he could face up to seven years in prison. Throughout the trial, Becciu attended the majority of the hearings, emphasizing Pope Francis’s desire for him to face court judgment after the Pope’s decision to force his resignation and strip him of his cardinal privileges prior to any formal charges.

This trial has raised concerns about the rule of law in the Vatican and the extent of Pope Francis’s authority as an absolute monarch, with powers in legislation, execution, and judicial matters. The defense has argued that this situation jeopardized the fairness of the trial.

While defense attorneys praised Judge Pignatone’s impartiality and their ability to present their arguments, they expressed concerns about outdated procedural norms in the Vatican that gave prosecutors significant leeway in their investigation.

In addition to Cardinal Becciu, nine others faced various financial crime charges related to a Vatican investment in a luxury London property. Prosecutors sought convictions on nearly 50 charges, including fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, corruption, abuse of office, and extortion. They also sought damages of over 400 million euros to recover the estimated 200 million euros lost by the Holy See in the questionable investments.

Initially viewed as a sign of Pope Francis’s financial reform efforts, the trial had unintended consequences, revealing vendettas, espionage, and even ransom payments to Islamic militants within the Vatican’s operations. It has also had a reputational impact on the Holy See, with various departments seeking damages to repair their image.

The core of the London case revolved around the property’s transfer from one London broker to another. Prosecutors alleged extortion, while the defense considered it a negotiated exit from a binding contract.

Two former managers of the Vatican’s financial watchdog, Rene Bruelhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, were accused of abuse of office for not blocking the payment to the second broker and not reporting it to prosecutors. They argued that they were following the will of Pope Francis, who wanted to resolve the matter cost-effectively and move forward.

The trial also delved into allegations of embezzlement related to funds sent to a Sardinian charity and payments made to a Sardinian woman, Cecilia Marogna, for intelligence services. Becciu maintained that the money sent to the charity was for a bakery to employ at-risk youths, and he believed the funds for Marogna were intended for negotiating the release of a kidnapped nun.

The Vatican’s willingness to consider ransom payments to militants in this case was a surprising revelation. Marogna, who is also on trial, denied any wrongdoing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cardinal Becciu Vatican Trial

What were the charges against Cardinal Becciu in the Vatican financial trial?

Cardinal Becciu faced charges of embezzlement and related financial crimes in connection with a London property investment.

What was Cardinal Becciu’s sentence in the Vatican financial trial?

Cardinal Becciu was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for his conviction on embezzlement charges.

Were there other defendants in the Vatican financial trial?

Yes, there were nine other defendants who faced various financial crime charges related to the Vatican’s investment in the London property.

What were the outcomes for the other defendants in the trial?

The trial resulted in a combination of guilty verdicts and acquittals among the other defendants, who faced nearly 50 charges in total.

How long did the Vatican financial trial last?

The trial spanned 2½ years, making it a lengthy and complex legal process.

Did Cardinal Becciu attend the trial?

Yes, unlike most defendants, Cardinal Becciu attended nearly all of the 86 hearings during the trial.

Why did Pope Francis force Cardinal Becciu to resign before formal charges were filed?

Pope Francis removed Cardinal Becciu from his position and privileges as a cardinal before formal charges were filed, indicating the Pope’s desire for Becciu to face court judgment.

What impact did this trial have on the Vatican’s reputation?

The trial had a reputational impact on the Holy See, with revelations of vendettas, espionage, and even ransom payments to Islamic militants within the Vatican’s operations.

What were the key allegations related to the London property investment?

The core of the case revolved around the property’s transfer between brokers and allegations of extortion by one of the brokers. This dispute was a central focus of the trial.

Were there allegations of embezzlement in addition to the London property case?

Yes, Cardinal Becciu faced allegations of embezzlement related to funds sent to a Sardinian charity and payments made to Cecilia Marogna for intelligence services.

What was the surprising revelation in the trial regarding ransom payments?

The trial revealed that the Vatican was willing to consider ransom payments to Islamic militants, as part of an effort to negotiate the release of a kidnapped nun.

How did the trial impact the rule of law and the Pope’s authority within the Vatican?

The trial raised questions about the rule of law in the Vatican and the extent of Pope Francis’s authority as an absolute monarch, given his role in the proceedings. Defense attorneys argued that this situation could have compromised the fairness of the trial.

More about Cardinal Becciu Vatican Trial

You may also like

Leave a Comment

logo-site-white

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News