On July 27 at the Vatican will begin the process to verify if 10 people committed crimes during the irregular investment of 400 million dollars in a building in London.
One of the accused is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was number 3 in the Vatican. He is accused of “alleged crimes of embezzlement, abuse of power also in complicity, and inciting subordinates to commit illegal actions.”
The events date back to 2013, when the Secretary of State bought a building in London to turn them into luxury apartments. At that time, Angelo Becciu was ultimately responsible for these investments.
For this operation he allocated funds from the Obolo de San Pedro, which collects donations from Catholics to finance charitable works of the popes and their activity. An estimated $ 100 million was lost with the London operation.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu denied having carried out criminal operations. He said it the day after Francis removed his office and his cardinal rights, like voting in a conclave.
CARD. ANGELO BECCIU
“Until yesterday at 6:02 pm I believed that I was a friend of the Pope, a faithful executor of what he asked of me. But he summoned me and told me that he no longer trusts me. He does not trust me because the magistrates told him that I committed the crime of embezzlement ”.
The cardinal is also under investigation for authorizing a donation of $ 116,000 to a charitable organization run by his brother.
It will be the first time that a cardinal has sat before the court of the Vatican City State. In April Pope Francis amended the penal code to prevent cardinals from being tried by a special court made up of other cardinals. The pontiff explained that the goal was to make everyone equal before the law.
“It will be necessary to take into account the priority requirement that, also through opportune normative modifications in the current procedural system, equality between all the members of the Church and their equivalent dignity and position emerge, without the privileges of past eras that are no longer in conformity to the responsibility that belongs to each one ” .
Among the 10 defendants there are several brokers who mediated in the London operation in exchange for disproportionate commissions, and the former president of the Vatican Financial Authority, René Brülhart, who allegedly did not prevent these commissions.
The process will begin at the end of July and could last until the fall. By then all eyes will be on the first cardinal to appear before a Vatican court for alleged financial crimes. It will be an opportunity to see how Francis’ ambitious reforms are implemented.