Cardinal Becciu will go to trial at the Vatican on July 27, accused of the “crimes of embezzlement and abuse of power and competence, as well as bribery”, along with a good part of the old staff of Vatican finances. The largest trial in the history of the Holy See, which faces a case in which, allegedly, hundreds of millions of euros were stolen in fraudulent transactions for the purchase and sale of luxury buildings, which has been discovered thanks to a joint investigation by the Vatican, Italian Justice and the collaboration of the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Jersey, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Cecilia Marogna, the woman Cardinal Becciu paid 600,000 euros to run “certain businesses” outside the Vatican
The Pope pulls the blanket, and there is no going back. As reported by the Sala Stampa of the Holy See in a statement, the financial scandal that arose after the purchase and sale of a luxury building on Sloane Avenue (London), with money from the St. Peter’s Obolus, will lead to the defendants’ bench. ten people. Thus, they will be prosecuted, in addition to Becciu, René Brülhart (former president of the AIF, Financial Supervision Authority of the Holy See), whom the prosecution accuses of abuse of functions; Monsignor Mauro Carlino (former Secretary of the Substitute for the Secretary of State), accused of extortion and abuse of functions; Enrico Crasso (the man of finances who had managed the investments of the Secretary of State for decades), accused of embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering and self-laundering, fraud, abuse of functions, falsification of public documents by an individual and falsification of private documents; Tommaso Di Ruzza (former director of the AIF), whom the prosecution accuses of embezzlement, abuse of functions and violation of official secrecy; Cecilia Marogna (known as the ‘Lady of Becciu’ who received considerable sums from the Secretary of State to carry out intelligence actions), accused of embezzlement; Raffaele Mincione (Becciu’s broker, who had the Secretary of State subscribe for important shares in the fund that owned the London estate of 60 Sloane Avenue in London, and then used the money received for his speculative investments), accused of embezzlement, fraud , abuse of functions, misappropriation and self-laundering of money; Nicola Squillace (lawyer involved in the negotiations), accused of fraud, misappropriation, laundering and self-laundering of money; Fabrizio Tirabassi (an official acting as secretary in the Administrative Office of the Secretary of State who played a prominent role in the matter), accused of corruption, extortion, embezzlement, fraud and abuse of functions; and Gianluigi Torzi (the financier called to help the Holy See out of the Mincione fund, and who got a payment of 15 million euros for returning the building to its rightful owners), accused of extortion, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation , laundering and self-laundering of money.
The most relevant, however, is Cardinal Becciu, of whom the Holy See points out that “it is proceeding, as required by law, for the crimes of embezzlement and abuse of functions also in complicity, as well as bribery.” There have also been requests for summons for the trial against investment companies such as HP Finance LLC, attributable to Enrico Crasso, accused by the prosecution of the crime of fraud; Logsic Humanitarne Dejavnosti, DOO, attributable to Cecilia Marogna, accused of embezzlement; Prestige Family Office SA, attributable to Enrico Crasso, accused of fraud; Sogenel Capital Investment, attributable to Enrico Crasso, with the accusation of fraud. Some crimes are also charged as “concurrent crimes”.
After a “long and complex investigation”, says Rome, in which the Vatican Gendarmerie, the Rome Prosecutor’s Office and the Economic-Financial Police Center of the Finance Guard of Rome have collaborated, with the collaboration of the Milan prosecutor’s offices, Bari, Trento, Cagliari and Sassari and the collaboration of the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Jersey, Luxembourg Slovenia and Switzerland, focuses on the investments of the Secretary of State in the Athena Capital Global Opportunities Fund of Raffaele Mincione, an operation that is conducted between June 2013 and February 2014.
The Secretary of State borrowed from Credit Suisse for $ 200 million to invest in the Mincione fund (100 in securities, 100 in real estate, linked to the London building). “The investment, highly speculative, entailed serious losses for the Holy See,” admits the Vatican. As of September 30, 2018, the shares had lost more than € 18 million compared to the initial investment value, “but the overall loss is estimated to be a much larger amount.” For Rome, “Mincione used the money of the Vatican to carry out reckless operations and attempt to acquire banking institutions in crisis. Faced with the disastrous results, the Secretary of State tried to exit the investment and take possession of the property.
This is where the broker Gianuligi Torzi comes into play, who, according to the Holy See, “with a concealment operation managed to maintain control for himself and deceive the Holy See thanks to internal complicities.” From the documentation provided by the Vatican magistrates, it appears that Mincione and Torzi agreed to carry out the operation with the Secretary of State. Vatican magistrates identify Enrico Crasso and Fabrizio Tirabassi as two key figures and believe they got commissions from Mincione and cash payments from Torzi for bringing them into the Vatican. “Thanks to internal complicity, Torzi got the Vatican to sign a Stock Purchase Agreement that took control of London property from the Secretary of State,” adds the investigation, which suggests that the Secretary of State was deceived and lost all capacity for action (he did not even have the right to vote) in speculative operations.
The Holy See, however, frees the current heads of the Secretary of State from all blame, insisting that “neither Monsignor Perlasca, signatory of the Stock Purchase Agreement, nor his superiors, the Substitute Edgar Peña Parra and, above all , Cardinal Pietro Parolin, have been effectively informed and, in any case, have been fully aware of the legal effects that the different categories of actions would have. ”
According to the Vatican magistrates the AIF (Financial Supervision Authority of the Holy See) would have “neglected the anomalies of the London operation – of which it had been immediately informed – especially taking into account the abundant information that, as a result of the activities of intelligence, had acquired “. According to the documentation produced by the prosecution, IDA played “a decisive role in the completion of the liquidation process of Gianluigi Torzi’s credits.”
And what about Becciu? The cardinal, a former Substitute for the Secretary of State, did not immediately enter the investigation. He was involved in it for what the magistrates define as “interference” and consider that he “is behind the offers to purchase the building that suddenly emerged at the end of May 2020, a few days before the questioning of Torzi.” According to testimonies, Becciu tried to get Perlasca to retract.
Payments made by the Secretary of State to Cecilia Marogna on Becciu’s instructions also entered the investigation. The woman’s company received between December 20, 2018 and July 11, 2019 payments made by the Secretary of State for 575,000 euros. The rogatory investigation made it possible to verify that these figures “were used, almost entirely, to make purchases.”
Lastly, the magistrates accuse Becciu of having financed and had his brother Antonino’s cooperative financed. It is about 600,000 euros from the funds of the Italian Episcopal Conference and 225,000 euros from the funds of the Secretary of State. The donations would have been “widely used for purposes other than the charities for which they were intended.”