The Explainer: Behind The London Real Estate Scandal At The Vatican | WGN Radio 720


Rome (AP) – Vatican. July charges against 10 people, including once powerful candidates for the Cardinal and Pope, for investing in a € 350 million luxury real estate project in the Holy See. We have set the 27th day of the trial.

The request for indictment on page 487 reveals that the Vatican lost millions of euros (mostly donations from believers) due to brokerage fees, poor investment and other suspicious costs, a two-year investigation. I finished. In addition, the prosecutor’s office brought various charges against the accused, including blackmail, embezzlement, abuse of power and corruption.

Here is a detailed description of the case, the charges, and some of the key players.


What’s the matter?

In 2013, the Vatican State Department decided to invest the first € 200 million in the fund of Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione, half of which was spent on buildings in London and the other half on other investments. It was.

By 2018, Minchon’s fund, Athena Capital, had lost € 18 million from the Vatican’s initial investment, prompting the Vatican to seek an exit strategy while maintaining its stake in the upmarket Chelsea building in London. The prosecution said this was done.

Introduce another broker, Gianluigi Torzi. He helped arrange for the Vatican to pay Minchona € 40 million for a stake in a building that the Holy See did not yet own.

However, the prosecutor’s office claims that Toruji overshadowed the Holy See. Rather than forming a company to manage the Vatican-run buildings, they argue that Torzi included a clause in the contract giving him full say in the deal. According to prosecutors, Torzi blackmailed the Vatican 15 million euros for control of the building.

Mr Tolji said the accusations are misleading.


Who in the Vatican knew?

The prosecutor’s office acknowledged that Pope Francis was aware of the deal and was present at a meeting with Torga in December 2018. One of the witnesses said that Francis agreed to pay Bidder “fair” compensation for the transfer of the building.

Other senior officials, including Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and his Deputy Bishop, Archbishop Edgar Peña Pará, also acknowledged and approved the agreement with Torga. According to the document, Penhapara allowed one of his agents to sign a contract giving him full voting rights with Torzi.

None of them were prosecuted. The prosecutor’s office does not understand the changes to Torzi’s contract and does not know anything about the Torgi-Minchon deal, their previous business relationships and fees allegedly received by other parties to the deal. It is said that it was done.


Who is Cardinal Becciu and how is he related to this court?

Cardinal Angelo Becciu is the only cardinal charged and will be the first cardinal to be indicted by a court after Pope Francis changed Vatican law to allow amateurs to try the cardinal. Becciu denies cheating.

Beciu was once one of the most influential prelates of the Vatican and was a candidate for the post of pope before Francisco fired him from his priesthood in the Holy See last year.

Francis asked him to resign in September and asked for his rights and privileges as a cardinal because Beciu used the Vatican’s money to donate € 100,000 to charity in his brother’s parish. He was stripped. At the time of the donation, Becciu was the third-largest state department and had the authority to make decisions on the office’s vast portfolio of assets.

Becciu is associated with another person involved in this case, Cecilia Marogna. She was accused of embezzling the Holy See Foundation, which Beciu had authorized for her espionage, to free Catholic priests and nuns who were being held hostage around the world. The prosecutor’s office claims that instead, she spent money on luxury goods.

Marogna denies cheating and says she can fully explain what the money was spent on.


What does the criminal procedure in the Vatican look like?

The Vatican’s Penal Code is based on elements of the Italian Code of 1889 and the canon law of the General Catholic Church. In recent years, the Pope has updated the code, especially with regard to many financial crimes, to eliminate the types of fraud reported in Saturday’s indictment.

The Vatican is pressuring courts to prosecute financial crimes as part of the Holy See’s involvement in the Council of Europe’s money laundering process, which aims to help countries fight money laundering and terrorist financing. It was done.

The Vatican joined the Moneyval appraisal program over a decade ago to ditch its image as a shaded offshore tax haven.

The Vatican has set up a new court for the next trial at the Vatican Museums, given that a conventional criminal court is too small for the accused and his lawyer. If convicted, the defendant could face jail time, fines, or both.

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