Fraud Trial Against Vatican Cardinal Concludes

Wed Dec 13 2023
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VATICAN CITY: A fraud trial against Vatican’s top Italian cardinal concluded on Tuesday after more than two years and the verdict is expected to be announced on Saturday, Western media reported.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, 75, a former adviser to Pope Francis, is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to face a trial by the Vatican court when proceedings started in July 2021.

Becciu, who has always pleaded not guilty is among 10 defendants facing allegations of abuse of power, corruption, embezzlement, extortion, fraud and money laundering.

Vatican prosecutor Alessandro Diddi in July sought seven years and three months of imprisonment for Becciu if found guilty. He overall, requested more than 73 years in prison for all 10 defendants with hefty penalties.

The offense pertains to the Church’s loss-making buying of a luxury property in London’s Chelsea district, financed by Peter’s Pence donations.

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Becciu also faced separate accusations of hundreds of thousands of euros of Church funds given to his brother’s charity organization.

His lawyer Fabio Viglione demanding acquittal of his client told the court that Becciu had never violated the law or involved in corruption practices.

The judge after conclusion of the proceedings remarked that the final verdict will be announced on Saturday. The trial took place before a Vatican tribunal of three lay magistrates.

Pope Francis has changed the law to bar cardinals and bishops from enjoying legal privileges

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