© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who has been caught up in an actual property scandal, reacts as he speaks to the media a day after he resigned instantly and gave up his proper to participate in an eventual conclave to elect a pope, close to the Vatican, i
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A court docket at a Vatican corruption trial on Thursday heard a secretly recorded phone name between the primary defendant, embattled Cardinal Angelo Becciu, and Pope Francis.
The recording was made with out the pope’s information by somebody in a room with Becciu in July 2021, shortly earlier than the trial started and whereas the pope was nonetheless recovering from main intestinal surgical procedure, the court docket was instructed.
Reporters have been requested to go away the room whereas the tape was performed however attorneys who heard it stated Becciu requested the pope to substantiate that the pontiff had authorised a fee to assist launch a nun who had been kidnapped in Africa.
The attorneys stated that on the decision pope appeared perplexed and confused by why Becciu was calling and that the pontiff repeatedly requested the cardinal to ship him a written word about what he wished.
In 2018, Becciu, then the third strongest individual within the Vatican, employed co-defendant Cecilia Marogna, a self-styled safety analyst, to free a Columbian nun who was kidnapped in Mali by an al Qaeda-linked group.
Marogna, 44, acquired 575,000 euros ($598,630) from the Secretariat of State, the Vatican’s most necessary division, in 2018 to 2019 when Becciu was working there. The cash was despatched to an organization she had arrange in Slovenia and she or he acquired some in money, the court docket has been instructed.
The police found Marogna had spent a lot of the cash for private use, together with luxurious model clothes and visits to well being spas.
She is charged with embezzlement and Becciu is modified with embezzlement, corruption, and abuse of workplace. They, like the opposite eight defendants, have denied all wrongdoing.
The chief prosecutor on the trial, Alessandro Diddi, instructed reporters on Thursday that he had begun a brand new tangent of his investigation during which he suspects Becciu of felony conspiracy. He stated he deposited the main points with the court docket.
Becciu’s attorneys stated in an announcement they weren’t conscious of any new accusations. The assertion didn’t touch upon the secretly recorded cellphone name.
A 12 months earlier than the trial began, Francis fired Becciu on suspicion of nepotism. Becciu denies doing something to assist his household financially.
On Thursday Becciu confronted his foremost accuser, his former high aide Monsignor Alberto Perlasca. He instructed the court docket how he was ordered to make funds he thought of uncommon.
He stated he despatched 100,000 euros to a charity in Sardinia, not figuring out on the time that it was linked to Becciu’s household.
Becciu has stated the charity helped create jobs in a poor space.
The trial revolves across the buy of a constructing in London by the Secretariat of State. The ten defendants embody former Vatican staff and Italian center males who the prosecution says extorted the Vatican.
($1 = 0.9605 euro)