The eleventh hearing of the Vatican trial on the questionable financial investments of the Secretary of State in London was held on March 30, 2022, and lasted about four and a half hours. It was mainly devoted to the interrogation of Msgr. Mauro Carlino, a former employee of the Secretary of State and one of the closest co-worker of the main accused in the trial: Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu.
“Especially,” because before entering the lively debates, Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the court, read a note from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, announcing that the sovereign pontiff had relieved Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu of the pontifical secret surrounding the role played by one of the protagonists of the case, Cecilia Marogna.
Needless to say, there will be many journalists present on April 7 to hear the explanations of the porporato stripped of his rights by Pope Francis.
To return to the March 30 hearing, it must be remembered that the Vatican's judiciary took an early interest in the role of Msgr. Mauro Carlino, as his name is on the list of administrators of a London-based holding company through which the Secretary of State controlled the luxurious Sloane Avenue building, the acquisition of which is at the heart of the ongoing legal proceedings.
At the bar, Cardinal Becciu's former secretary played the card of the good and faithful servant of the Gospel: “I never raised a finger without the permission of my superior,” Msgr. Carlino repeated, referring to the period during which he was in office as an employee of Cardinal Becciu and then of his successor, Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, the current substitut.
“Fidelity, obedience, confidentiality”: these are the watchwords that Archbishop Pena Parra demanded of his employees, explains Msgr. Carlino, who said he was “surprised to be sent back to court.”
The Sloane Avenue affair? Unknown to Cardinal Becciu's former right arm: “I did not hear about the London Palace affair until January 2019, when Archbishop Pena Parra told me that there was a problem, due to a big mistake by the administrative office, of which I was not a member,” says Msgr. Carlino, who claims to have “realized all the mess that had taken place, after only several months.”
To apologize, the former employee of secretary of state's office believes that the real problem lay in “the thousand shares left in the hands of financier Gianluigi Torzi, by means of which he could manage the building at will, even after its redemption by the Secretary of State.”
The financier is seen by Msgr. Carlino as “an outrageous ego.” a person “who deceived the secretariat of state.” Msgr. Carlino, it is believed, has just confined himself to mediating
between Gianluigi Torzi and three other speakers: Luca Dal Fabbro, Luciano Capaldo, and Fabrizio Tibarassi, one of the accused.
Regarding the outcome of this mediation, Msgr. Carlino explains that it was decided by the substitute, Archbishop Pena Parra, in agreement with Luciano Capaldo, to pay 15 million euros to regain control of the building, and thus put an end to the relationship with Gianluigi Torzi.
Pressed by the lawyer of the Institute of Roman Works (IOR) - who took civil action - regarding the sums spent, Msgr. Carlino clarified that the evaluation of the amounts was not his responsibility, and that, on the two invoices issued to Torzi, one worth ten million euros, were intended for brokerage; the other, 5 million euros, to “real estate investment consulting activities.”
Asked by the President of the Tribunal about the role of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, a former head of the office of the Secretary of State who played a key role in the case, Msgr. Carlino said: “Perlasca betrayed the trust that had been put in him and disobeyed; he signed the acquisition contracts without the endorsement of his superiors,” he stated.
Finally, to make matters worse, Cardinal Becciu's former secretary did not hesitate to turn everything back on the pope, whose shadow is constantly hovering over the trial: “I have constantly informed the Holy Father of what was happening…. In obedience, I did the will of the Holy Father.… The pope’s intention was to spend as little as possible to regain possession of the building.”
The next hearing is scheduled for April 5. The interrogation of Msgr. Mauro Carlino is expected to continue, and then it will be the turn of Tommaso Di Ruzza and René Brülhart, former directors and chairman of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority (IDA), to be heard, on any possible wrongdoing in the performance of their duties.