Cardinal denies allegations of financial mismanagement

Italian Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, rejects accusations of financial mismanagement that claim he “played and tampered with the money of the poor”.

Nearly a month after private documents about a property deal involving the Vatican leaked to the press, Becciu explained his side of the story.

The Peter’s Pence collection “is not only for the pope’s charity but also for the sustenance of his pastoral ministry,” he said.

Accusations abut his misuse of the fund for investments instead of direct aid to the poor are “muddy accusations that I firmly and disdainfully reject,” he said.

“I have a clear conscience and I know that I have always acted in the interest of the Holy See and never in my personal interest. Those who know me closely can attest to that.”

Stories about Becciu’s involvement in investment in a property in London have been circulating for the past month, after the Vatican police raided offices in the Secretariat of State and its financial oversight office on 1 October.

On 2 October, Italian magazine L’Espresso published what it claimed to be an internal notice from the Vatican police about the “cautionary suspension” of five individuals.

Those individuals included Tomasso Di Ruzza, who is the director of the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF).

L’Espresso said the raid was part of a Vatican investigation into how the Secretariat of State used $200 million to finance a property development project in the Chelsea district of London in 2014.

However, a fortnight ago, the Vatican said an internal investigation revealed that neither Di Ruzza “nor any other employee of AIF improperly exercised his authority or engaged in any other wrongdoing.”

Becciu served as substitute secretary for general affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018.

According to the leaked documents, the Vatican Secretariat of State eventually purchased a majority stake in the London property in 2018 and incurred debts from the failed project.

The Vatican press office has not made any comments about L’Espresso’s report. Nor has the Vatican press office clarified the nature of the alleged financial transactions or people being investigated.

However, last week Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is the Vatican secretary of state, said while Peter’s Pence is administered well, the London property investment was opaque – a description Becciu questions.

The Peter’s Pence website shows it collects donations from a world-wide collection taken at the end of June each year.

The money is then used to “sustain the work of evangelization and, at the same time, to help the poor in whatever way is possible.”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,