The cardinal has always denied all wrongdoing, telling journalists at the first court date in July: “I am calm, I feel calm in conscience, I have the confidence that the judges will be able to see the facts well and my great hope is the certainty that they recognize my innocence.”
3. It’s not just about the London property deal
While the London deal is one of the Vatican’s biggest financial scandals in the last couple of years, not all of the prosecution’s charges are strictly related to that transaction.
Becciu’s charges of embezzlement and abuse of office are connected to accusations that he sent Vatican money to a charity run by his brother, and that he paid another defendant in the trial, Cecilia Marogna, to create dossiers of incriminating information on Vatican personnel.
Marogna, a self-described security consultant, has been charged with embezzlement for allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of euros from the Secretariat in connection with Becciu, and then reportedly spending the money earmarked for charity on luxury goods and vacations -- which she denies.
René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, who formerly led the Vatican’s internal financial watchdog, were not involved in the London property purchase, but have been charged for allegedly failing to stop the deal, which Vatican prosecutors say “should have been considered suspicious.”
The significant players in the London deal were defendants Raffaele Mincione and Gianluigi Torzi, who negotiated and brokered the Secretariat of State’s purchase, and the longtime Vatican investment manager Enrico Crasso, who helped them.
Inside the Secretariat, Fabrizio Tirabassi oversaw investments and Msgr. Mauro Carlino worked with him.
4. Pope Francis has changed the rules
Pope Francis has not been quiet about financial reform at the Vatican and has stepped in several ways during the investigation and trial -- whether to express a hope for a desired outcome or to change procedural norms.
He issued four decrees during the two-year pre-trial probe, overruling existing laws to allow prosecutors greater freedom in their investigation, including the use of wiretaps and the suspension of confidentiality rules for documents.
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The pope also intervened by requiring Becciu to resign as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights extended to members of the College of Cardinals on Sept. 24, 2020, after news reports emerged accusing Becciu of financial wrongdoing.
But in a recent interview with Spanish broadcaster COPE, Francis said he hoped “with all my heart” that the cardinal is proven to be innocent.
“Besides, he was a collaborator of mine and helped me a lot. He is a person for whom I have a certain esteem as a person, that is to say, that my wish is that it turns out well,” he said.
5. Procedural problems
Though the trial centers on the London property scandal, the case could become about much more, as the Vatican continues to grapple with issues of financial reform and the tribunal’s involvement.
In June, the financial monitoring body Moneyval noted the potential conflicts of time and interest by the judges and prosecutors involved in the trial, most of whom also have other jobs in the Italian legal system.