The cardinal, who has been charged with embezzlement, abuse of office, and subornation of perjury by the Vatican, has always denied any wrongdoing. He rejected reports last year that he directed Vatican and Italian bishops’ conference money to his brother’s non-profit, Spes Cooperative, which works with the local branch of Caritas.
Local authorities carried out searches in the Ozieri diocese on Tuesday at the request of the Vatican.
The diocese said through its lawyer on Feb. 15 that all funds of the diocese, Caritas, and the non-profit Spes, had been used for “an exclusive nature of solidarity and charity institutionally proper to these entities.”
Becciu admitted in November 2021 that he had given money to his diocese, but said he did not see any issue with it. At a diocesan event in Sardinia, he said that he was “proud, appreciative, happy to have helped you. Where is the scandal?”
On the sidelines of Friday’s hearing, Becciu gave a statement to the media about his financial giving to the non-profit managed by his brother, denying that he intended to favor family members.
“I am proud to have found funds to support this cooperative that gives work to 60 boys and girls who, as the pope calls them, are the ‘rejects’ of society: former drug addicts, ex-convicts, young people with health problems,” he said.
“The accusation that has been made against me is that by sending money to Caritas of Ozieri, I wanted to favor my family members,” the cardinal said. “This is an accusation from which I will defend myself in court and that I have always rejected and I reject.”
He said that he sent the diocesan Caritas 125,000 euros (around $140,000) from Peter’s Pence, the Holy See’s annual collection to finance the pope’s charitable works and the Roman Curia, but that the funds could still be accounted for, unused, in the diocese’s accounts.
“These 125,000 euros are there, what money went to my family members?” he asked.
The cardinal called the continued investigations and searches of the diocese “a humiliation for the diocese and for the bishop.”
“I want to express all my solidarity for the bishop who has suffered these humiliations,” he said.
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