Becciu served as sostituto, or second-ranking official at the Secretariat of State, from 2011 to 2018, when Pope Francis named him a cardinal and moved him to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
On Sept. 24, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation from the rights and privileges as a cardinal, and from his curial office.
Becciu has been linked to a number of financial scandals, most notably the Secretariat’s investment of hundreds of millions of euros with the Italian businessman Rafaelle Mincione and the controversial purchase of a London building.
Becciu was also involved in a complicated series of events and financial transactions around the purchase of the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), an Italian hospital that collapsed in 2013 under 800 million euros of debt through theft and fraud.
Since the resignation of Cardinal Becciu on Sept. 24, some media commentators and outlets close to the Secretariat of State have attempted to downplay the significance of the investigation into Vatican finances, now in its second year.
Many have also attempted to minimize the scope and scale of the financial scandal currently engulfing the department, or suggested that Becciu is being persecuted by curial partisans and media outlets for personal reasons.
Marogna’s arrest came shortly after the influential Vatican blog Il Sismografo implied that Giuseppe Pignatone, a respected former Italian prosecutor with a long track record of anti-mafia cases, appointed by Pope Francis last year as the head of the Vatican tribunal, might have abused his office and illegally leaked confidential documents as part of a campaign against Becciu waged through Italian media outlets.
The consultant’s arrest, however, is the second in the investigation into financial affairs at the secretariat: In June, Vatican authorities arrested Gianluigi Torzi on charges of extortion and money laundering over his role in broked the secretariat’s purchase of the London building from Mincione.
The arrest is also the second time that Italian law enforcement authorities have cooperated in the Vatican’s arrest. In July, Mincione was served with a search and seizure warrant by Italian authorities in Rome, the warrant was issued by an Italian magistrate after a request from the Vatican’s office of the Promoter of Justice. To obtain a search warrant for Mincione’s property, Vatican offices had to successfully convince an Italian judge of the seriousness of their case.
A spokesperson for Mincione told CNA Wednesday that the businessman's attorneys “have challenged that order as lacking any proper factual basis and motivation at all to have been issued and are waiting to have a hearing scheduled.”
Ed. note: This story was updated Oct. 14 after CNA was contacted by Raffaelle Mincione's spokesperson.
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