200 witnesses to testify in ‘Vatican trial of a century’ on financial scandals

by Msnbctv news staff

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Earlier this month, Giuseppe Pignatone, one of many judges overseeing the Vatican’s “trial of a century,” regarding corruption and cash laundering by Catholic Church officers, joked that he hoped the proceedings would finish by 2050.

At the very least, it was considered a joke: At Wednesday’s session, the judges introduced that the prosecution and defendants plan to name greater than 200 witnesses in a trial that has already taken almost a yr to get by means of 10 defendants. 

The trial began in July of 2021 with defendants going through interrogation by Vatican prosecutors, judges and the legal professionals of different defendants.

On the coronary heart of the case is the controversial buy by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State of a property at 60 Sloane Ave. in London, which based on Vatican prosecutors value the church 350 million euros (about $370 million), drawn partially from donations to a papal charity referred to as Peter’s Pence.

To this point the trial has put a highlight on turf wars and rivalries amongst members of the Vatican departments and workplaces that make up the Roman Curia. The listening to on Wednesday (June 22) targeted on the position performed by the fund managers and consultants who oversaw the Vatican’s funding portfolio.

Enrico Crasso, a former worker of the financial institution Credit score Suisse who served the Holy See as an funding supervisor for 26 years, answered questions for the second time on the trial on Wednesday, and declared his innocence. He’s charged with embezzlement, corruption, extortion, cash laundering, fraud, abuse of workplace and ranging sorts of forgery.

“Eleven indictments usually are not few,” Crasso stated. “I hope that this court docket desires to guage my exercise as a supervisor and doesn’t put me ready to pay for the actions of different (defendants).”

In his earlier listening to, Could 30, Crasso had stated he was sidelined by the Vatican in 2014 when it selected to spend money on Raffaele Mincione’s fund, Athena, which owned the London property. Mincione can be charged with fraud and embezzlement for allegedly draining income from the funding by means of charges and commissions.

Proceedings within the Vatican finance trial on Could 20, 2022. Photograph by Vatican Media

Crasso questioned Mincione’s administration of the fund, sustaining that the financier used the Vatican’s cash to pay for his takeover of the troubled Italian financial institution Carige. Crasso stated he instructed the secretariat that the prices of Mincione’s fund have been excessively excessive.

Crasso stated he broke with Mincione formally in 2016, greater than two years after he first launched him to Vatican staffers to pitch an funding in an oil operation in Angola, an concept that was scrapped in favor of the London property deal.

Crasso instructed the judges that his position was to behave as a “bulwark in defending the Secretariat of State’s liquidity, and never a software to fraud anybody.”

Crasso stated he was current at a few of the principal conferences that laid out the London property deal; he stated he was “at all times summoned by Fabrizio Tirabassi,” who dealt with the funds of the Secretariat of State and is one other defendant on the trial.

“I by no means had formal assignments” from the Secretariat of State, Crasso stated.

RELATED: Vatican knew about dangers of London deal, says financier who brokered it

The administration of the London property was finally handed over to a different Italian fund supervisor, Gianluigi Torzi, who assured the Secretariat of State that he may persuade Mincione at hand over the property. Crasso stated he was referred to as again into the deal by the secretariat to supervise the transition as a consultant of Credit score Suisse.

In November 2018, Torzi handed over nearly all of the shares of the fund that owned the London property however saved 1,000 voting shares that saved management of the actual property in his fingers. Vatican prosecutors have charged Torzi with embezzlement, fraud and cash laundering, claiming he extorted $15 million from the secretariat to relinquish the voting shares.

Crasso acknowledged he was current throughout the signing of the deal in London however denied realizing something about Torzi’s voting shares. Attending the assembly was “a really massive mistake,” Crasso stated, including {that a} Secretariat of State official, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, requested him to attend.

Initially investigated by Vatican prosecutors, Perlasca is now a star witness within the proceedings.

Vatican judges mounted the subsequent trial date for July 7, when they are going to interrogate remaining defendants and start the duty of interrogating the quite a few witnesses earlier than the tribunal goes on its summer season break.

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