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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Angelo Becciu: I am innocent. I hope the error is clarified

Card. Angelo Becciu denies having committed any crime and denies having attempted to increase his family's wealth.

“Yesterday until 6:02 p.m., I felt like a friend of the pope, a loyal person who carried out the pope's orders. However, he spoke to me and said he no longer trusts me. He no longer trusts me because the magistrates told him I committed the crime of embezzlement.”

During what was supposed to be a work meeting, the pope explained the accusations against him and asked the cardinal to resign. It was a tense 20-minute meeting.

“He said that when I was Substitute at the Secretariat of State, I authorized a donation of about $116,000 to Caritas at the diocese of Ozieri, and that supposedly, those $116,000 were transferred to an association my brother runs. In other words, he said I used those funds for a different end that favored my brother.”

As the number three in the Vatican, he had the authority to decide to which social projects to allocate funds. He chose this because it was for a project to create jobs in one of Italy's poorest areas.

He denies that the money went toward his brother and explains that the diocese hasn't used it yet.

“I don't know if it's a conflict of interests. Yes, of course it would have been better if I hadn't donated the money, but I did it to help the diocese, not my brother. Those $116,000 belonged to the diocese. I will let the Holy Father be the judge of all this. I hope that sooner or later he will realize that there's been a huge mistake.”

Technically, Angelo Becciu is still a cardinal, but he's lost the rights and responsibilities of the role. For example, he cannot participate in a conclave.

He assures that his resignation has nothing to do with the suspicious investment in a London building using funds from the Secretariat of State.

The Vatican still hasn't given its account of the issue. The press release this Thursday evening simply communicated the incident.

Card. George Pell expressed approval of the resignation, which he includes in the pope's attempts to clean Vatican financial operations.

Javier Martínez-Brocal

Translation: CT