Gianluigi Antonucci is the Vatican policeman who participated in the searches in the Diocese of Ozieri in connection with a Vatican investigation into accusations of embezzlement by Cardinal Becciu.
Antonucci said that the contributions of the Secretariat of State to the Spes Cooperative, led by Antonino Becciu, the cardinal’s brother, came “from an account of the Secretariat of State” with 44 subaccounts and “significant figures destined for Peter’s Pence.”
The detail about Peter’s Pence is important.
The question of whether this could also be a case of “mistaken identity” has been raised previously. The Secretariat of State has had an account since 1939 called the “Conto Obolo” (Obolo is the Italian word for “pence”).
Among the transfers were also 100,000 euros from the Secretariat of State to the Sardinian Spes Cooperative, of which Becciu had also requested an annual report on social initiatives.
There were no reports, though, apparently because the money had not yet been spent.
The funds were earmarked for the renovation of a bakery run by the cooperative, acquired in 2004 and renovated after a fire in 2015. A further 25,000 euros was intended for purchasing machinery in the bakery, which cost 98,000 euros.
The funds ended up in the account used by Caritas and Spes Cooperative, defined by the gendarmes as a “mixed account.” According to the Vatican police, it is impossible to assess whether the 100,000 euros in the account are the money coming from the Secretariat of State or the result of other operations.
It is striking that neither the apostolic administrator of Ozieri, Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti, nor Bishop Corrado Melis, who were in office during the events, were interviewed by the Vatican police.
The Vatican police said they tried to reach out to the bishop, but he was not available. When asked why the bishop was not summoned, Antonucci replied that “it was not his decision how to conduct the investigation.”
Antonucci did not “dismiss” that some expenses for clothing, meals, and fuel were destined for migrants or refugees assisted by Caritas of Ozieri, but he said that it was “strange that certain expenses concerned migrants.”
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He also suggested that he did not understand the destination of the 3,000 euros withdrawn from the account but that he could not exclude that they were intended for small donations.
The question is: How can the allegations hold up in court if they are seemingly only based on possibilities?
How the investigations took place
In the hearing on Oct. 19, Luca De Leo, IT technician of the Gendarmerie Security Center, underlined that 243 devices had been acquired, analyzed, and transferred. Of these, 37 are the devices the Promoter of Justice used for the investigation, including nine mobile phones and 17 computers.
Among the documents analyzed is the so-called “3% letter.” It is a letter from the Secretariat of State, dated April 17, 2019, guaranteeing the broker Gianluigi Torzi 3% of the value of the London property.
According to the indictment order, this letter existed on a virtual level. The witness said that a physical copy was never found and that the document, prepared in November 2018, was printed in April 2019. However, it is impossible to assess any changes to the text. The source file says there were updates made, but not what the changes were.