Vatican prosecutors concede errors made, corruption trial in doubt

Vatican trial errors

Prosecutors at a Vatican trial of 10 people, including a cardinal, accused of financial crimes, acknowledged errors were made in its case.

The Vatican prosecutor offered to remedy the mistakes by essentially starting over, throwing the trial into question before it really got off the ground.

Deputy prosecutor Alessandro Diddi made the surprise announcement at the first hearing since the trial started in July, saying: “I feel the duty to meet (the defence requests) halfway.”

Diddi said his office has always acted to ensure that the rights of the accused were respected. He suggested his proposal was a “common sense” way to address the defence objections.

Defence lawyers told the court Diddi’s request was unacceptable and accused Diddi’s office of withholding key pieces of evidence from them.

They cited a raft of what they claimed were procedural errors and asked court president Giuseppe Pignatone to annul the 500-page indictment. This action would effectively end the current trial.

The defence maintains the errors by the Vatican prosecution badly harmed their right to a fair trial and ability to mount a defence.

In particular, they want to view videos of five interrogations of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, a former Vatican official who was first a suspect and then a star witness for the prosecution.

Perlasca is the primary witness against the most prominent defendant, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a once-powerful Vatican official.

The prosecution has accused Becciu, other former Vatican officials or employees and outside middlemen involved in the deal of embezzlement, abuse of office, and fraud. They all have denied wrongdoing.

The trial revolves mainly around the purchase by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State of a 350 million-euro investment in a London property.

The venture lost the Vatican tens of millions of euros. Much of the funds were donations from the faithful that were spent on fees to Italian brokers.

Pignatone adjourned the trial after about two hours and said he would announce his decisions on Wednesday morning.

If Pignatone agrees to Diddi’s request, he and others on the prosecution team will return to their work with thousands of pages of evidence and documents. In addition, they will question some of the defendants again and other witnesses for the first time.


AP News



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