Police found that 927 transport documents for bread had actually been created in the summer of 2021, a few weeks before the start of the Vatican trial, and back-dated to 2018.
Becciu sues — and loses
An Italian court last week rejected a defamation lawsuit filed by Cardinal Becciu against three journalists at the Italian newspaper L’Espresso.
Becciu was ordered to pay 40,000 euros in court costs to the GEDI Publishing Group, which owned L’Espresso when the complaint was filed.
The cardinal’s lawyer had argued that L’Espresso’s reporting in 2020 had cost Becciu the chance to be pope. His lawsuit asked judges to award him 10 million euros in compensation.
This was Becciu’s second lost lawsuit this month. Earlier in November, a judge in northern Italy ordered the cardinal to pay over 20,000 euros each in court costs to his former collaborator Monsignor Alberto Perlasca and Perlasca’s friend after suing them for “persecutory acts.”
In his sentence, the judge called Becciu’s lawsuit an “abuse of the procedural instrument” and also directed the cardinal to pay 9,000 euros in damages to Perlasca.
Becciu could choose to appeal the decisions.
Perlasca’s day in court
Monsignor Perlasca, the former head of administration at the Secretariat of State, testified two days last week, his first time taking the stand during the Vatican’s finance trial. His questioning continued on Nov. 30.
Perlasca was once considered a suspect in the finance investigations, but he was never charged after volunteering information to investigators during extensive questioning in 2020 and 2021. He is now the prosecution’s star witness.
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Perlasca had sought to have most of his pretrial interrogations excluded from evidence at trial. He argued that due process was not followed since he did not have a lawyer with him while questioned.
But the president of the Vatican court, Giuseppe Pignatone, denied the plea on the eve of Perlasca’s testimony, only excluding a part of one interrogation from Aug. 31, 2020.
Perlasca, who contradicted his prior statements throughout questioning Nov. 24 and 25, was warned by Pignatone to be careful of his answers — or risk being charged with perjury.
When asked about the Secretariat of State’s decisions around the purchase of the London building, the investment at the heart of the trial, Perlasca claimed to have so little power that he could not even sign his name to anything.
But the prosecutor pointed out that Perlasca’s name was signed to the “framework agreement” that transferred the management of the London property from Raffaele Mincione to Gianluigi Torzi, both defendants in the trial.
Perlasca said the “current sostituto,” or No. 2, at the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, told him to sign it.