A Vatican judge indicted a cardinal and 9 other suspects on charges of money laundering, fraud, and abuse of office Saturday, according to the Independent.
The suspects are accused of withholding millions of euros from the Holy See and investing money that was donated to the pope for charity work, the Independent reported.
Italian broker Gianluigi Torzi is accused of using 15 million euros that he withheld from the Vatican to invest in a London building in 2018. Former Holy See official Cardinal Angelo Becciu was indicted for helping organize the investment when he was the Secretariat of State’s chief of staff, according to Independent. (RELATED: Conservatives, Catholics, Accuse US Embassy Of Deliberately Provoking Catholics With LGBTQ Pride Flag)
Another suspect, an Italian intelligence expert, was accused of using Holy See money to buy luxury goods, the Independent reported.
A Vatican judge indicted 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, on charges including embezzlement, abuse of office, extortion and fraud in connection with the Secretariat of State’s 350 million-euro investment in a London real estate venture. https://t.co/V0c87IDblw
— ABC News (@ABC) July 3, 2021
Becciu released a statement denying any wrongdoing. “I am the victim of a plot hatched against me and I have been waiting for a long time to know any accusations against me, to allow myself to promptly deny them and prove to the world my absolute innocence,” he said, according to the Independent. “Only by considering this great injustice as a test of faith can I find the strength to fight this battle of truth.”
The indictments followed a two year investigation of the Secretariat of State’s asset portfolio, which is funded by donations from the faithful. The scandal caused a significant cut in donations. Pope Francis also removed the office’s power to manage money.
The trial date has been set for July 27, the Independent reported.