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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Becciu in attendance at first hearing in historic Vatican fraud trial

A criminal trial has opened in a Vatican tribunal against Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine others to investigate misuse of funds from the Vatican Secretariat of State. In particular, a 400 million dollar investment in a building in London.

Cardinal Becciu and his secretary, Father Mauro Carlino were the only defendants present at the hearing. The other eight were represented by their attorneys. 

The day's hearing lasted seven hours, during which the court heard the defense's objections, which stated that not enough time had been dedicated to studying the case's facts. 

Card. Angelo Becciu's Attorney

“We raised objections regarding the prosecution and the legality of certain actions taken during the investigation which violated the defendant's right to defend himself.”

Cardinal Becciu is formally accusing the case's primary whistleblower, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, of slander after Monsignor Perlasca shared his reconstruction of the case's events with the prosecution. 

Card. Angelo Becciu's Attorney

"We are only at the beginning. The evidence still has to be presented. There is great confidence, great serenity, and a great desire to demonstrate the cardinal's complete innocence."

Gianluigi Torzi, a broker suspected of defrauding and extorting the Vatican, among other crimes, was not present as he cannot leave the United Kingdom, and is awaiting extradition to Italy. 

The magistrates have set the next hearing for Tuesday, October 5. 

The events on trial began in 2013, when funds from the Vatican Secretariat of State were used to buy a building in London to be converted into luxury apartments. At that time, Angelo Becciu was ultimately responsible for those investments, for which he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in brokered deals and other transactions currently under investigation.