Vatican judge indicts cardinal, nine others for alleged financial crimes

Those indicted include Cardinal Angelo Becciu and former heads of Vatican’s financial intelligence unit and two Italian brokers involved in Vatican’s purchase of a building in a luxury area of London.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu arrives for the Palm Sunday Mass led by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, April 14, 2019. (Reuters)

A Vatican judge has ordered 10 people, including an Italian cardinal, to stand trial for alleged financial crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who Pope Francis fired last year and who has always maintained his innocence during a two-year investigation, became the highest ranking Vatican based Church official to be indicted for alleged financial crimes.

As per Church law, the pope personally approved the judge’s decision to investigate and indict Becciu. The charges against him include embezzlement and abuse of office. An Italian woman who worked for Becciu was charged with embezzlement.

Trial begins later this month

Italian brokers Gianluigi Torzi and Raffaele Mincione were indicted on charges of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

Torzi, for whom Italian magistrates issued an arrest warrant in April, was also charged with extortion.

Both have denied wrongdoing.

Four companies associated with individual defendants, two in Switzerland, one in the United States and one in Slovenia, were also indicted.

The trial is due to start on July 27 in the Vatican, a statement said.

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