Vatican Prosecutor Calls for 7 Years in Prison and $15 Million from Cardinal Angelo Becciu in Historic Embezzlement Trial

The Vatican prosecutor has demands a historic long prison sentence for Cardinal Angelo Becciu. For the first time in church history, a cardinal is accused before the Vatican court.  Pope Francis dismissed Becciu from office as head of the Vatican's Dicastery for the Causes of Saintsy in 2020.  In the Vatican financial trial, the accused Cardinal  Becciu faces a 7 year prison sentence. Vatican public prosecutor Alessandro Diddi on Wednesday demanded 7 years and 3 months in prison and a fine of 10,239 euros (approx. $15 Million) of the 75-year-old, who is accused of embezzlement and abuse of office. The trial is primarily about alleged criminal offenses related to the financing of a London commercial property, which was acquired by the central church management authority - the Vatican State Secretariat - from 2014 as an investment property for a three-digit million amount. It was later sold again at a heavy loss.
The loss to the Vatican is said to be between 139 and 189 million euros. At the time of the purchase, Becciu held the second highest position in the State Secretariat as a substitute. In addition to the London business, he is accused of irregularities in transfers to his home diocese in Sardinia and to the Caritas organization from that area. It's about 225,000 euros and an alleged involvement of Becciu's family members. The cardinal is said to have put an acquaintance in contact with the Vatican as a supposed geopolitical expert. According to the indictment, the state secretariat sent the woman 575,000 euros to free a kidnapped nun in Mali. Instead of this, the alleged expert spent the money on luxury goods and vacations. The cardinal, who has been on trial in the Vatican since mid-2021, has denied all allegations and has repeatedly protested his innocence. On Tuesday he said in court: "I feel disfigured as a person and as a priest." He was absent on Wednesday and was represented by his lawyers. In connection with the allegations, Becciu had to waive his rights as a cardinal.  In addition to him, nine other people have been charged with embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering, fraud, abuse of office and forgery. They also face imprisonment and fines. Presiding judge Giuseppe Pignatone is expected to announce the verdict in December.