Vatican City, May 9, 2018 / 09:25 am America/Denver (CNA).
The first hearing in a trial against the former president of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) – known as the “Vatican Bank” – and his lawyer took place today at the Vatican.
Angelo Caloia, 78, president of the IOR from 1989-2009, and his lawyer, Gabriele Liuzzo, 95, were indicted March 5 on accusations of having embezzled money from Vatican real estate sales during the years 2001-2008.
At the hearing May 9, the Vatican Court announced plans to appoint experts who will assess the value of properties that Caloia and Liuzzo are accused of selling at below-market rates – while allegedly making off-paper agreements for higher amounts to pocket the difference. The amount embezzled is estimated to be 57 million euros (68 million dollars).
Caloia was present at the nearly four-hour long hearing, though Liuzzo was absent, citing his age. During the process, the chancellor of the court read the indictment, and preliminary objections and requests for witnesses were assessed, a Vatican communique said.
The trial was initially set to begin March 15 but was postponed “at the request of the attorneys for the indicted and the lawyers of the IOR,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement March 12.