Vatican Trial: Cardinal Becciu Cries Conspiracy

June 06, 2023
Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the court

The atmosphere grew increasingly heavy at the Vatican's trial of the century. One of the principal defendants, Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu, has called into question the Holy See’s Tribunal, accusing it of “instrumentalizing the Holy Father to carry out a malicious plan of revenge.”

The former substitute for the Secretariat of State faces his judges, along with nine other defendants, on various charges: an allegedly fraudulent investment of 350 million euros; suspicion of misappropriation of funds for the benefit of a charitable organization run by his brother; and a complex relationship with a communication consultant accused of having used some of the Vatican money for missions whose purpose has not been made clear.

On May 26, the cardinal expressed his bitterness in a spontaneous speech, deploring the difficulty his lawyers are having in obtaining the prosecution’s evidence, and also denouncing the existence of a “conspiracy” against him, in which the sovereign pontiff himself might have been exploited, reluctantly, of course.

A harsh statement which followed the rejection of Giuseppe Pignatone, in his capacity as President of the Tribunal of the Holy See, of a defense appeal demanding access to the full interrogatories of several key figures in the case, including Msgr. Alberto Perlasca and Genevieve Ciferri, a friend of the Perlasca family.

Specifically, the material that prosecutors have withheld includes the full transcript of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca's interrogatories, as well as a series of 126 WhatsApp network exchanges in which he was involved.

For the record, Alberto Perlasca was the Vatican official who played a leading role in the London property purchase.

The promoter of justice – Alessandro Diddi, the bête noire of Cardinal Becciu – has in fact redacted 119 pieces of evidence out of the 126 in his possession. In his decision read aloud on May 26, Giuseppe Pignatone sided with promoters of justice, arguing that prosecutors have an “indisputable” right to keep evidence secret during an ongoing investigation.

Cardinal Becciu, who was once one of the most influential porporati in the Roman Curia, and a close aide to Pope Francis, said the magistrate's decision left him “bitter” and “perplexed,” however, he maintains his confidence in the Vatican court: “The defense has been humiliated. It cannot fully exercise its rights if it is deprived of certain key elements,” he asserted in his address to Giuseppe Pignatone.

It should be remembered that from the beginning of the trial, the defense of the former Deputy Secretary of State has directed its attack on the Vatican City State legal code, a code which, according to them, deprives the accused of certain of their fundamental rights, in contradiction with what is happening in other “modern democracies.”

Even the role of Pope Francis has been singled out by the cardinal's lawyers: it must be said that the Pope has modified the law four times in favor of the prosecutors during the investigation.

Hence the bitterness of a cardinal who, from the bottom of the Tarpeian rock, concludes his address to the tribunal in these terms: “You cannot use the Holy Father to carry out a malicious plan of revenge.”