The Vatican City State Tribunal found Cardinal Angelo Becciu guilty of embezzlement and abuse of power.
In a case widely dubbed the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” Becciu – along with nine other individuals and four companies – went on trial in July 2021 on various charges related to financial misconduct while serving in the Secretariat of State.
After 86 hearings lasting more than two years and with 76 witnesses, Judge Giuseppe Pignatone handed down the verdicts for all the accused on Saturday.
Becciu was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, with an additional fine of €8,000. He is also permanently banned from holding office.
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Five other defendants also received prison sentences: Enrico Crasso, seven years; Cecilia Marogna, three years. Raffaele Mincione, five years. Fabrizio Tirabassi, seven years. and Gianluigi Torzi, six years old.
Defendants René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza were fined, while defendant Nicola Squillace received a suspended sentence.
Former official of the State Secretariat Mr. Mauro Carlino was acquitted of all charges.
Logsic Humitarne Dejavnosti was the only company found guilty and fined $44,000.
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Central to the case was a failed real estate deal in London in which the Secretary of State acquired a piece of land in the Chelsea neighborhood and was eventually forced to sell it at a loss of $150 million.
Becciu was found guilty of a further, unrelated offence, including embezzlement through a Sardinian Catholic charityun by his brother and misuse of funds earmarked for the ransom of a kidnapped nun.
The court ordered more than $181 million in forfeitures related to the scandal and ordered all defendants to pay — jointly and severally — about $218 million to civil litigants.
The trial was held at the Vatican City State Tribunal, the highest civil court in Vatican City.
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Becciu was the first cardinal ever to be tried under the Vatican’s civil justice system — and now the first ever to be convicted.
Becciu’s lawyer maintained the cardinal’s innocence and, after the verdict, announced his intention to appeal.
Vatican City does not maintain a prison system, so the guilty will serve their sentence under Italian authorities.