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Former pope contender becomes first-ever cardinal prosecuted in Vatican's criminal tribunal, court seeks $181 million

Former pope contender becomes first-ever cardinal prosecuted in Vatican's criminal tribunal, court seeks $181 million

A former pope contender has become the first-ever cardinal to be prosecuted in Vatican's criminal court.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu was convicted of embezzling millions from the Vatican.

Judge Giuseppe Pignatone read the verdict on Saturday in a Vatican courtroom, which sentenced Cardinal Angelo Becciu to 5 ½ years in prison.

Prosecutor Alessandro Diddi boasted that the guilty verdict "showed we were correct."

Becciu's lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said he would appeal the sentence.

The BBC noted, "Becciu, 75, was the most senior Vatican official ever to face such charges and once seen as a papal contender himself."

In September 2020, Becciu, resigned from the Vatican's secretariat of state after being implicated in a financial scandal. Pope Francis accepted Becciu's resignation.

Becciu reportedly oversaw a multimillion-euro investment in a $380 million luxury property in London.

NBC News reported, "In the end, he was convicted of embezzlement stemming from the original investment of 200 million euros in a fund that bought into the London property, as well as for his 125,000 euro donation of Vatican money to a charity run by his brother in Sardinia. He was also convicted of using Vatican money to pay an intelligence analyst who in turn was convicted of using the money for herself."

Becciu allegedly paid 575,000 euros, about $627,000, to Cecilia Marogna for intelligence services. However, Marogna used that Vatican money to buy luxury goods and go on vacations, according to prosecutors.

The disgraced cardinal claimed that he thought the money was being used to pay a British security firm to negotiate the release of Gloria Narvaez – a Colombian nun taken hostage by Islamic militants in Mali in 2017.

Becciu said Pope Francis authorized up to 1 million euros to liberate the nun.

At the Vatican tribunal, Marogna was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for her role.

Prosecutors also sought damages of over 400 million euros from Marogna and Becciu to try to recover the estimated 200 million euros they claim the Holy See lost in the bad deals.

The Vatican court ordered the confiscation of 166 million euros, roughly $181 million, from the pair and the payment of civil damages to Vatican offices of 200 million euros, or about $218 million.

Becciu's former secretary, Monsignor Mauro Carlino, was completely acquitted.

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →