A Roman Catholic cardinal who was close to Pope Francis has appeared in court at the Vatican on charges of misusing church funds in a failed real estate project in London.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Piccio, 73, is the oldest clergyman of the modern era facing prosecution for financial crimes.
The physio has been accused of spending 350 350 million ($ 412 million) on a deal that failed to buy a property in Chelsea, causing huge losses to the church. The Cardinal denies any wrongdoing.
The pope fired Cardinal Piccio in September.
A two-year investigation has revealed how the Vatican lost millions of dollars, including donations from worshipers, after it bought a former Harrods warehouse on Chelsea’s Sloan Avenue in 2014. The cardinal then took charge of donations at the Vatican Secretariat. Church Finance.
The charges against Piccio include transferring money to companies run by his brothers in his native Sardinia, Italy.
The indictment also includes nine other defendants charged with extortion, fraud, money laundering and office abuse.
The special courtroom is located in the Vatican Museums – not the usual courtroom because COVID-19 required more space due to its long distance operations and rules and the number of participants.
The test is expected to last several months. This week’s hearings – on technical matters – may be adjourned until October.
Who are the other defendants?
There are nine more people on this charge:
Swiss lawyer Renee Bullhardt, Formerly chairman of the Vatican Financial Regulatory Commission, formerly known as the Financial Information Commission, and his former deputy Tomaso de Rosa.
M.G.R. Moro Carlino, Who served as Private Secretary to Cardinal Piccio.
Enrico Crosso, Formerly Director of Investment at the Vatican.
Cecilia Maroنیا, Accused of buying luxury goods with funds set aside by Cardinal Piccio for Vatican intelligence work, including attempts to free hostages of various religions.
All of the accused deny any wrongdoing. If convicted, they could face jail time, fines or both.
Lawyers London-based broker, Gianluigi DorseyHe swindled the Vatican and used his money to buy shares in the Chelsea building that was to be converted into luxury apartments. Dorsey describes these allegations as a misunderstanding.
In April, the pope ordered that the accused cardinals and bishops could be tried by ordinary judges – not by the cardinals, as had happened before.
The new chief financial officer of the Vatican, Juan Antonio Guerrero, has said that the Vatican is now more open about its affairs.
Last week, the Vatican released details of all its shares, including more than 4,000 properties in Italy and 1,120 properties in other European cities.