Jul 3, 2021 - World

Vatican indicts 10, including Cardinal, on extortion and abuse charges

Picture of Giovanni Angelo Becciu
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu. Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

A Vatican judge on Saturday indicted 10 people, including a Cardinal, on charges including abuse of office, fraud, extortion and embezzlement in connection to a London real estate scandal, AP reports.

Driving the news: The indictments followed a two-year investigation into how the Secretariat of State manages its funds, which come from donations that investigators said were allegedly "used for purposes other than the charitable purposes for which they were intended," per the Vatican News.

  • Investigators said the Secretariat of State borrowed $200 million to invest in a property in London, but the "high-risk investment brought a serious loss to the Holy See," the Vatican News writes.

The state of play: Those indicted include Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the former chief of staff in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State who was fired by Pope Francis as a result of the investigation, the New York Times notes. Becciu's lawyers released a statement that said the accusations were an "absolute falsity" and maintained he was a "victim of an organized plot hatched" against him.

  • Becciu became involved in the investigation because he was allegedly behind the proposal to invest in the London property, per AP. Vatican prosecutors also say he tried to interfere with the investigation.
  • Others indicted include two former officials from the Vatican's intelligence unit, more officials from the Secretariat of State office and Italian businessmen who handled the London investment, according to the New York Times.

What's next: The first hearing for the case will be on July 27.

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