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The Vatican announced Saturday that it’s indicting nine people and a cardinal on financial crimes, including extortion, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and abuse of office, regarding investments reportedly made in 2018.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu and two top officials at the Vatican’s intelligence unit are going on trial on July 27, CBS News reports. Becciu was indicted “for the crimes of embezzlement, abuse of office … and bribery,” according to the Vatican, and was asked to resign by the Pope last year after allegedly using Vatican money to fund his brothers’ businesses. The former Vatican Secretariat of State official maintains his innocence and says he’s a victim of a “conspiracy.”
A 2019 investigation found “a vast network of ties between financial market operators who generated substantial losses for the Vatican finances.” The activities found by the investigation include using charitable money for an investment in a fossil fuel industry in Angola, which the Vatican News says could be valued at $200 million, as well as a property sale in London.
René Brulhart, former president of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, and Tommaso di Ruzza, former director, were also hit with the indictment, along with four additional companies.
“The investigations, carried out also with rogatory commissions in several other foreign countries (United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Jersey, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland), have brought to light a vast network of relationships with operators in the financial markets that have generated substantial losses for the Vatican finances, having also drawn on the resources intended for the personal charitable works of the Holy Father,” a release read.
Pope Francis is currently undergoing a scheduled surgery Sunday for “colon diverticulitis,” the Vatican announced separately.