Cardinal Angelo Becciu speaks with journalists during a news conference in Rome Sept. 25 after being asked by Pope Francis Sept. 24 to resign as prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves

Becciu denies interfering in Pell trial

By 
  • October 21, 2020

ROME -- Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu denied having interfered in any way with the trial of Cardinal George Pell after Italian media reported an allegation that Becciu might have wired money to Australia as a bribe during Pell’s trial.

An Oct. 17 statement from Becciu’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said the cardinal, “regarding the everlasting attention of some journalists to Cardinal Pell’s trial, is compelled to reiterate vigorously that he has never interfered with it in any way whatsoever.”

The lawyer also said Becciu may seek legal recourse against some news organizations for their continued reporting of the allegation.

Becciu’s latest denial comes after speculative reports in Italian newspapers earlier this month indicated he had been accused of wiring money from an undisclosed Vatican account to Australia while Pell was facing a 2018 criminal trial on charges he sexually abused two boys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell was convicted of that charge, after a first trial ended in a hung jury, and in 2019 sentenced to prison. He was freed on April 7 after Australia’s High Court concluded the jury in Pell’s trial did not act rationally when it found no possibility of doubt in the charges the cardinal faced.

The allegation, which CNA has not independently corroborated, is reportedly tied to Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, a former Becciu deputy who is said to be co-operating with investigators.

Until 2017, Pell led an effort called for by Pope Francis to bring order and accountability to the Vatican’s finances. Pell clashed with Becciu, who as sostituto of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State served effectively as the Pope’s chief of staff. Becciu at one point acted to cancel a contract Pell had made for an external audit of Vatican finances.

Since at least 2018, investigators have been reviewing a web of investments and transactions at the Secretariat of State that are connected to Becciu; last month the cardinal was fired from his position at the Vatican and resigned “the rights proper to cardinals,” while remaining a member of the College of Cardinals.

Via Catholic News Agency

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