Cardinal Becciu to stand trial at Vatican for embezzlement and abuse of office

Giovanni Angelo Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, pictured June 27, 2019./ Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The Vatican announced today that Cardinal Angelo Becciu will be tried on charges of embezzlement and abuse of office.

The Vatican court also announced it will hold a criminal trial against nine people and four corporations in connection with the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a London investment property.

The trial’s first hearing will take place July 27.

Among those to be tried are several employees of the Secretariat of State: Fabrizio Tirabassi, who oversaw investments, will be tried on charges of corruption, extortion, embezzlement, fraud, and abuse of office.

Mons. Mauro Carlino, who worked with Tirabassi, has been charged with extortion and abuse of office.

At the center of the trial is the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a building at 60 Sloane Avenue in London. It was bought in stages between 2014 and 2018 from Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione, who at the time was managing hundreds of millions of euros of secretariat funds.

Mincione will also stand trial on charges of embezzlement, fraud, abuse of office, misappropriation, and self-money laundering.

Businessman Gianluigi Torzi, who was brought in to broker the final negotiations of the Vatican’s purchase of the London property in 2018, has been charged with extortion, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, money laundering, and self-money laundering.

Enrico Crasso, who managed investments for the Vatican for over 25 years, was investigated on suspicions he was working together with Mincione and Tirabassi to defraud the Secretariat of State.

Crasso, who is the manager of the Centurion Global Fund in which the Holy See is the principal investor, faces the most charges: corruption, embezzlement, extortion, money laundering, self-money laundering, fraud, abuse of office, falsifying a public document, and falsifying a private document.

The Vatican has also charged three corporations owned by Crasso with fraud.

Gianluigi Torzi, a businessman who worked with Mincione, will face trial on charges of extortion, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, money laundering, and self-money laundering.

His associate, the lawyer Nicola Squillace, faces the same charges minus extortion.

Torzi was arrested by Vatican officials last year, and held for a little over a week, as part of the financial investigation. He was also arrested in London on May 11 at the request of a judge in Rome. His bail was set at $1.6 million.

The Italian businessman acted as a commission-earning middleman for the Secretariat of State as it finalized its purchase of the London property, on which it spent approximately $300 million.

Torzi brokered the sale, reportedly earning 10 million euros for his role in the final stage of the deal.

Mons. Alberto Perlasca, Becciu’s former chief deputy at the Secretariat of State, was also investigated as part of the London property scandal, but is not among the defendants in this summer’s trial.

Source: CNA