Vatican Cardinal accused of flicking funds to Australia during Pell trial

According to Italian media, recently-sacked Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu allegedly sent funds covertly to Australia during Cardinal George Pell’s child sex-abuse trial.

Denying the claims, Becciu issued a strongly worded statement saying: “I categorically deny interfering in any way in the trial of Cardinal Pell.”

Becciu called the allegations against him “surreal” and a misunderstanding.

However, an Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (Corriere) says a dossier – compiled by Vatican investigators and prosecutors – includes evidence of numerous bank transfers, including one amounting to 700,000 euro.

The Cardinal’s department allegedly sent the funds to Australia through the apostolic nunciature to an unnamed “Australian account”.

The funds were “extra-budgetary,” and were transferred for “works to be done” on the nunciature.

The Corriere suggests the furtive activity could be linked Becciu and Pell’s strained relationship, describing them as “enemies”.

It also noted Pell was facing sex abuse charges in Australia when the funds were transferred.

Il Messaggero newspaper says Msgr Albert Perlasca, who was Becciu’s deputy at the Secretariat, told investigators about the transfer of funds to Australia during their probe into Becciu’s performance.

Perlasca and Becciu worked together for several years overseeing aspects of curial governance, including the investment Vatican finances.

Corriere also alleges Perlasca claims Becciu was known to “use journalists and contacts to discredit his enemies.”

His history of clashes with Pell have been widely reported.

Cardinal Becciu’s clash with Cardinal Pell came to a head in 2016 when the Australian ordered an audit of Vatican finances by an external accountancy firm. Soon after it was launched Cardinal Becciu overruled Cardinal Pell and blocked the audit.

A year later, he was behind the ousting of the Vatican’s auditor-general, Libero Milone, who was accused of spying on officials.

“Milone was Pell’s right-hand man and the enmity between Pell and Becciu was huge,” Massimo Franco, the author of The Enigma of Bergoglio, a new book about Francis, said.

The scandal threatens to cast a shadow over Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, calling for human fraternity, love, charity and peace.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,