Former Vatican Official Sentenced To 5 And A Half Years In Jail Over Corruption Scandal

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Senior cardinal

The Pope’s former deputy secretary of state, along with nine others, have been found guilty in the Vatican’s biggest financial corruption scandal.

On Saturday, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the most senior Catholic Church official ever to stand trial before a Vatican criminal court, was convicted of embezzlement and fraud and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail.

The charges focused on the purchasing of a showroom in London’s Sloane Square formally used by Harrods, which was bought for €140m more than its market value – defrauding the Vatican.

Sky News reports: Becciu, the first cardinal prosecuted by the Vatican criminal court, was absolved of several other charges and nine other defendants received a combination of guilty verdicts and acquittals among the nearly 50 charges brought against them during a two-and-a-half-year trial.

The charges against the defendants included embezzlement, corruption, abuse of office, fraud, witness tampering and extortion – with the trial revolving mostly around a luxury building in Chelsea.

Becciu was the pope’s chief of staff, serving as a key diplomat between 2011 and 2018.

His lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said he respected the sentence but would appeal against it.

The two-year-long trial, led by jury president and former anti-mafia prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone, centered on the management of the funds of the secretariat of state and the sale of a property on London’s Sloane Avenue paid for with donation funds.

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