Vatican trial, indictments press corruption, money laundering charges


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Failed bank takeover and luxury London real estate figure prominently in Vatican trial, indictments

Vatican lawyers will examine an attempted bank takeover and shady high-end real estate purchases in upcoming trials, one of which starts next week. Criminal accusations include embezzlement, fraud, and money laundering.

A Reuters report on July 19 describes an effort to take over Banca Carige by one of its main shareholders. Vatican prosecutors assert that that shareholder used money stolen from the Catholic Church to leverage the attempt.

Genoa-based Banca Carige has struggled for several years. In June, Italian financial authorities moved to open the bank’s books as a first step in offering the bank for sale.

Vatican prosecutors in early July also announced indictments of the same shareholder and several others for a massive real-estate deal in which the Vatican purchased a deluxe London property for $410 million. One of the indicted is a Roman Catholic cardinal.

The indictments named Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, two former top officials of the Vatican’s oversight unit, officials at the Pope’s Secretariat of State, and also brokers and bankers.

In a statement announcing the indictments, the Vatican referenced significant financial losses suffered by the church as a result of alleged crimes. The statement also referenced Pope Francis’ efforts to address longstanding corruption allegations and concerns related to the Vatican’s finances and banking.

A New York Times article details the allegations and the intricacies of Vatican legal code that run counter to more modern rights of defendants. The individuals indicted maintain their innocence.

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