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HomeWorld NewsVatican court docket hears secret recording of pope on hostage charges

Vatican court docket hears secret recording of pope on hostage charges

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VATICAN CITY — The Vatican tribunal weighing a monetary fraud case heard from an uncommon witness Thursday, when a secret recording of Pope Francis was performed to the court docket in regards to the Holy See’s funds to free a nun held hostage by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The broadcast of the pope’s personal voice within the courtroom marked a surreal new chapter in a trial that has already seen loads of twists as Vatican judges attempt to decide who, if anybody, is criminally liable for dropping tens of hundreds of thousands of euros in Holy See property.

Vatican prosecutors launched the recording into proof Thursday, saying it was a part of a trove of fabric lately obtained from Italian monetary police who’re investigating a Sardinian charity linked to Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a onetime shut Francis collaborator who is without doubt one of the 10 defendants within the Vatican trial.

Vatican prosecutors revealed that the Sardinian proof has additionally been added to a brand new Vatican investigation wherein Becciu is underneath investigation for alleged felony conspiracy.

According to Prosecutor Angelo Diddi, Becciu and a household affiliate secretly recorded Francis on July 24, 2021, three days earlier than the Vatican trial opened, when Becciu spoke to him by telephone from his Vatican house. While many of the defendants are dealing with expenses associated to the Vatican’s 350-million-euro funding in a London property, Becciu is on trial for alleged abuse of workplace and embezzlement in relation to his dealings with the Sardinian charity and with a self-styled safety analyst who can be on trial, Cecilia Marogna.

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In the recording, Becciu asks Francis to basically verify that the pope had licensed the funds to a British agency that Marogna had recognized to barter the liberty of a Colombian nun who was kidnapped in 2017 in Mali. Francis, who had simply been launched from a 10-day hospital keep, was acquainted with the case and basically concurred, in accordance with a number of legal professionals who heard the recording. The tribunal president ordered journalists to depart the courtroom through the playback of the recording, on the grounds that it hadn’t but been formally admitted into proof.

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was kidnapped in Mali in February 2017 by al-Qaida within the Islamic Maghreb, which had bankrolled its insurgency by kidnapping Westerners. During her captivity, the group periodically confirmed Narvaez on video asking for the Vatican’s assist.

Becciu had informed the court docket on May 5 that he had raised her plight with Francis and that the pontiff had agreed to spend as much as 1 million euros to rent the British agency, Inkerman Group, to search out the nun and safe her freedom. She was ultimately launched final 12 months and met with the pope.

While the recording forged a questionable mild on Becciu for having secretly recorded the pope, it substantiated claims by Becciu and different defendants that Francis was certainly acquainted with, and in some circumstances accredited, among the expenditures which can be at difficulty within the trial. There isn’t any provision within the Vatican regulation for the pope to be interrogated throughout a felony trial, however protection legal professionals have mentioned they need to ask him what he is aware of in regards to the varied monetary choices, and mentioned the audio recording bolstered their argument that the pope’s testimony is important to the trial.

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Prosecutors have accused Italian brokers and Vatican officers of a number of monetary crimes, together with fraud, embezzlement, corruption and abuse of workplace. In the London case, they accuse the defendants of defrauding the Holy See and of then extorting 15 million euros from the Vatican to accumulate management of the property. The 10 defendants all deny wrongdoing.

After phrase emerged of the brand new felony conspiracy investigation, Becciu’s legal professionals late Thursday mentioned they knew of no such investigation towards the cardinal however that regardless “he strongly asserts his innocence” and was able to make clear his place.

For the primary time, the Vatican court docket heard this week that the Holy See misplaced greater than 100 million euros on the transaction of the property alone, after it offered the property this 12 months for some 186 million kilos after having spent 275 million kilos to purchase it.

The Vatican official most intently related to the deal, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, took the stand for the primary time Thursday in among the most eagerly anticipated testimony, and instantly blamed his deputy for the fiasco. Perlasca had initially been a key suspect within the investigation, however in August 2020 modified his story and is now thought-about an injured occasion within the case.

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