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Prosecution seeks 7-year prison term for Cardinal Becciu

July 26, 2023

Summarizing his case in the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” the Vatican prosecutor has recommended an unprecedented seven-year prison sentence for Cardinal Angelo Becciu, for “many crimes against the patrimony of the Holy See.”

The prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, asked the Vatican tribunal to find ten defendants guilty of financial crimes, recommending prison terms of up to thirteen years. He also sought the confiscation of €415 million ($458 million) from the defendants—including €14 million from Cardinal Becciu. The cardinal is the highest ranking Vatican official to face criminal charges before a Vatican tribunal.

The charges stem from a complex real-estate investment, involving property in London, which ultimately resulted in losses of over €150 million for the Vatican.

Cardinal Becciu was the prime mover behind the financing of the London deal, which he orchestrated while serving as sostituto, or Deputy Secretariat of State. He has staunchly maintained that he is innocent of all wrongdoing, and that his investment decisions were authorized by his superiors—including Pope Francis. “I have always worked for the good of the Church and I have spent my whole life for her,” he said in response to the prosecutor’s summary.

The Vatican tribunal will continue hearing arguments in the long-running case after a summer hiatus.. After a two-year investigation, the prosecution opened its case with a 487-page indictment in July 2021; a decision is finally expected before the end of this year.

Cardinal Becciu—who was removed from his Vatican post by Pope Francis in 2020—charged that the case against him was built on “a succession of suggestions that have little to do with the search for truth and the balance of evidence, theorems far from the reality of the facts and what has been demonstrated.” For his part the prosecutor, Diddi, has accused the cardinal of a “strategy of attacks” against investigators.

(The Pillar has posted an excellent summary— necessarily detailed, but readily understandable— of the prosecution’s full case against Cardinal Becciu.)

Several Vatican officials, including a former auditor general, have supported the charge that Cardinal Becciu worked to deflect investigations and to punish whistle-blowers. One of his co-defendants, the security consultant Cecilia Marogna, has claimed that the cardinal employed her to compile dossiers of potentially damaging information about his potential adversaries at the Vatican.

Cardinal Becciu insists that Marogna was employed to seek the release of a Colombian nun who had been kidnapped in Mali by Islamic militants. The prosecution has accused Marogna of embezzling funds, and asked for a five-year prison sentence. But Marogna has successfully resisted extradition to face the Vatican tribunal.

Among other defendants in the case, the prosecutor asked for:

  • An 11-year sentence, and confiscation of €172 million, for Raffaele Mincione, a broker involved in the London deal—who has sued the Vatican for defamation;
  • A 9-year sentence, and confiscation of €71 million, for Gianluigi Torzi, an Italian financier, who is charged with extortion;
  • A 4-year sentence for Rene Bruelhart, the former head of the Vatican’s Financial Information authority, who is charged with ignoring evidence of corruption—and who says that top Vatican officials prevented an investigation; and
  • Another 4-year sentence for Tommaso Di Ruzza, Bruelhart’s former deputy.


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  • Posted by: ewaughok - Jul. 27, 2023 6:55 PM ET USA

    Rupnik or Becciu… Pope Francis will not let them be imprisoned … he will emote about “mercy”, and they’ll be let go, totally free!