Cardinal denies embezzling Vatican funds

Cardinal Angelo Becciu (CNS/Junno Arocho Esteves)

Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu has denounced media reports accusing him of using Vatican funds for questionable purposes, including to influence the criminal trial of Cardinal George Pell. Source: CNS.

The reports came after Cardinal Becciu was last month asked to retire by Pope Francis over allegations of embezzlement.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by his lawyer, Cardinal Becciu, the former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, categorically denied reports that he used the funds to enrich himself, his family or people of influence.

The cardinal told reporters on September 25 he was accused of embezzling an estimated 100,000 euros ($164,117) of Vatican funds and redirecting them to Spes, a Caritas organisation run by his brother, Tonino Becciu, in his home Diocese of Ozieri, Sardinia.

The cardinal “serenely awaits the results of every assessment, in any forum, which will finally confirm his fidelity to the Holy Father and the Church,” he said in the statement.

Italian and international media reported several questionable financial transactions the cardinal allegedly made with Vatican funds during the time he was “sostituto” — a position like chief-of-staff — in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claimed that Cardinal Becciu allegedly sent 700,000 euros ($1.14 million) to accusers of Cardinal Pell, who was convicted and subsequently exonerated for sexual abuse. However, the Italian newspaper did not provide any sources or evidence regarding the alleged transaction.

Nevertheless, the report prompted Cardinal Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, to call for an international investigation into the alleged transaction.

Cardinal Becciu denied the allegation on October 3, saying, “I categorically deny interfering in any way in the trial of Cardinal Pell,” and his lawyer reiterated the denial in the statement four days later.

FULL STORY

Cardinal offers defense after media reports raise more questions (By Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS)

RELATED COVERAGE

Justice demands we follow Vatican money trail on Cardinal Pell case (The Australian)

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