In between, Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, who since August 2019 has been the successor to Becciu as deputy of the Secretariat of State, had the director of the IOR shadowed.
In the interrogation, Mammì said that the IOR could only provide loans in specific cases — and that he had felt pressured to provide the loan. He said the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) had not acted as a third party but lobbied the IOR to agree to the loan — even though, according to him, there was insufficient coverage for it.
Mammì was shown a document demonstrating the IOR was authorized to make loans under certain conditions. In response, the witness said this was true — but that the conditions had not been met.
The defense then read another document, which gave a positive opinion on the loan to the Secretariat of State while also bringing out some critical issues.
“You might say that the technical opinion is positive, but for me, it’s negative,” was Mammì’s dry answer.
Mammì also said that he had attended a meeting in the Secretariat of State after having made the complaint about the London deal and that he had not said anything about confidentiality. When asked if he had said it before the complaint, he denied having said so.
The IOR director’s testimony was at times precise and aggressive but also provided apparent contradictions and personal opinions. It remains to be understood why Mammì ultimately decided to file his report, given the IOR has provided more substantial loans in the past.
Whether the IOR had the necessary liquidity for the loan in times of shrinking budgets is another open question.
The other witnesses
Antonio Di Iorio, an official and notary of the Apostolic Chamber, and Luca Dal Fabbro, a well-known manager, have also been heard these days.
Di lorio said he simply signed papers without knowing their contents.
Dal Fabbro explained that the Secretariat of State had called him first to assess the situation in London, so much so that he let it be known that the shares of the broker Gianluigi Torzi, who had taken over the management, were the only ones with voting rights. Then, he had also advised the Secretariat of State on other properties he had in London, and finally, he had renegotiated the loans.
And then there was Fabio Perugia, a consultant, who was involved in introducing the Valeur Group to Cardinal Becciu.
Valeur is a Switzerland-based asset management, advisory, trading, and real estate company.
It appears Valeur wanted to take over the London building and complained that every offer to do so was knocked back by the Vatican. Perugia, who had been Gianluigi Torzi’s partner for about six months, let it be understood that this was due to misconduct in the Secretariat of State.
Last but not least, the testimony of Cardinal Oscar Cantoni on Becciu’s alleged attempted bribery of Perlasca should be noted. Cantoni testified that Becciu asked him to speak to Perlasca, without threatening anything or anyone.
Some conclusions, but many questions
In summary, many questions surrounding this trial against Cardinal Becciu and others accused of financial crimes remain unanswered.
How credible is Perlasca as a witness? What is the role of Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui? Who are her contacts in the Vatican? What are they trying to achieve? What is the role of the IOR in the affair?
And finally: Is there a risk of questioning the impartiality of the promoter of justice because he is apparently receiving messages from parties close to those involved in the trial?
The Vatican‘s prosecutor himself made known the situation regarding Chaouqui only before the second interrogation of Perlasca. In contrast, before the start of the other interrogation, with timing that could be subject to questions, he played the phone call of Becciu to the pope, even if these were part of another proceeding in Italy and not part of the Vatican trial.
While no one knows when and how the trial will end, one thing seems clear: The credibility at stake is not just that of the accused.
Andrea Gagliarducci is an Italian journalist for Catholic News Agency and Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He is a contributor to the National Catholic Register.