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Vatican finance trial delayed again; to resume in February

December 14, 2021

The president of the Vatican tribunal hearing a dramatic financial-misconduct trial has acknowledged that “the trial needs more time before it can open for real.”

Giuseppe Pignatone, the tribunal president, said that the trial would “finally, hopefully” begin in February 2022, after a series of procedural setbacks. He made that statement after a brief hearing on December 14.

The trial—which in theory began in July—centers on a London real-estate deal, in which the Vatican suffered heavy investment losses. Vatican prosecutors have charged several defendants with fraud; the defendants have argued that top Vatican officials understood and approved the deals.

The key defendant in the case is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the former sostituto or assistant Secretary of State, who is charged with making unauthorized investments. Cardinal Becciu—the highest-ranking prelate to face criminal charges before a Vatican tribunal—has argued that he was authorized to pursue the deals.

In pre-trial hearings, defense lawyers charged that the prosecution had withheld some key evidence, including taped testimony by Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, a former official of the Secretariat of State who played a key role in the financial transfers, but is not a defendant. In October, Pignatone ordered the prosecution to drop charges against four of the ten defendants, and begin again to construct a legal case against them.

At the December 14 hearing, the tribunal president gave the prosecution until January 20 to decide whether or not to re-indict those four defendants. He indicated that the case could then proceed against the original ten defendants. He set a January 25 date for the next hearing in the case.

 


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ewaughok - Dec. 14, 2021 9:03 PM ET USA

    Expect Pignatone to drop all the charges against everyone in January, especially since Perlasca in his taped testimony has indicated that Pope Francis okayed the deal at a couple of different meetings …

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 14, 2021 12:35 PM ET USA

    It will surely boost confidence in Vatican's honesty and inspire greater generosity of the faithful.