Pope Francisco

the cardinal angelo becciuthe first cardinal to appear before the Vatican criminal court, defended himself in a trial against him for financial fraud and, in the middle of his story, spoke of a alleged secret agreement approved by Pope Francis in which, according to his account, a million euros would have been paid to the terrorist group Al Qaeda to free a Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali.

For two and a half hours, the 73-year-old Italian cardinal rejected the “totally unfounded accusations” against him before the criminal court of the smallest state in the world, where a dozen people have been on trial since July 2021 for fraud, embezzlement, abuse of power, money laundering, corruption and extortionthe agency reported AFP.

At the center of judgment is the expensive purchase of a prestigious building in London as part of the investment activities of the Holy See, whose real estate assets are considerable.

Video: Pope Francis uses a wheelchair and has trouble walking due to his knee condition

Pope Francis.

Pope Francis dismissed him

Becciu, whom Pope Francis dismissed and deprived of cardinal privileges in September 2020, denied any reckless use of St. Peter’s Pence, the large annual collection of donations dedicated to the pope’s charitable actions.

“It is not Pence funds that have been used, but those of the Secretary of State,” he said, referring to the central government of the Holy See, assuring that he had “followed the practices” of his predecessors and highlighting the “trust” placed in their collaborators.

At the end of January, the Vatican confirmed that it had sold the 17,000-square-meter building at 60 Sloane Square in the upscale Chelsea neighborhood, the purchase of which at an inflated price and with a hidden mortgage severely damaged its reputation.

Pope Francisco
Jorge bergoglio.

The alleged agreement of Pope Francis to release a Colombian nun

On the other hand, Becciu affirmed that the Pope had given his agreement for a transaction of one million euros to free the Colombian nun Gloria Cecilia Narváezreleased in October 2021 after more than four years of captivity in Mali held by a group linked to Al Qaeda.

Although he did not specify whether a ransom was finally paid, this revelation revealed the use of the services of a British security company, thanks above all to the intermediation of the Italian Cecilia Marogna.

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Also accused in this process, Marogna had stated that she was employed by the cardinal for intelligence activities aimed at obtaining the release of the kidnapped nun, and received 575,000 euros (about $600,000) from the Secretary of State in a Slovenian account.

Becciu has steadfastly denied having a relationship with Marogna, dubbed “the cardinal’s lady” by the Italian press.

DE

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