By NICOLE WINFIELD, Related Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s swirling corruption investigation has taken a mysterious new twist with the arrest on a global warrant of a Sardinian girl mentioned to be near one of many Holy See’s strongest cardinals earlier than his downfall.
Italy’s monetary police mentioned Wednesday that Cecilia Marogna had been arrested in Milan late Tuesday on a warrant issued by the Vatican Metropolis State. An official of the Guardia di Finanza, talking on situation of anonymity, mentioned the company had no additional info since officers merely executed the warrant on behalf of a international nation, the Vatican.
Italian newspapers in current weeks have reported that Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the onetime No. 2 within the Vatican secretariat of state, had wired lots of of 1000’s of euros in Holy See funds to Marogna’s Slovenian-based consulting agency, purportedly for humanitarian operations in Africa and Asia.
The stories, together with interviews with Marogna herself, have recognized the 39-year-old as a political analyst and intelligence knowledgeable who reached out to Becciu in 2015 with considerations about safety for Vatican embassies in hotspots and was shortly introduced into the cardinal’s interior circle.
Marogna instructed Corriere della Sera that over 4 years, Becciu wired her 500,000 euros as compensation, journey reimbursements and consultancy charges. She defended some luxurious expenditures — designer pocketbooks for instance — as being “perhaps for the spouse of a Nigerian pal who was ready to speak to the president of Burkina Faso.”
Becciu, who was sacked by Pope Francis final month after admitting he despatched 100,000 euros in Vatican cash to a charity headed by his brother, has insisted that his dealings with Marogna have been official.
In an Oct. 7 assertion issued by his lawyer, Becciu mentioned “the contacts with Cecilia Marogna strictly pertains to institutional affairs.”
Marogna’s arrest was believed to be a part of a sprawling corruption investigation launched final yr by Vatican prosecutors into the Holy See’s 350 million euro funding right into a London actual property enterprise, a lot of it funded by donations from the trustworthy.
Vatican prosecutors are investigating a handful of Italian middlemen who’re accused of getting fleeced the Holy See of tens of thousands and thousands of euros in charges whereas the Vatican’s incompetent cash managers stood by.
Vatican prosecutors haven’t indicted anybody but, and their case appears rife with holes and potential conflicts, given the Holy See’s superiors accredited the contracts with the middlemen that ceded them voting rights within the deal and offered them with large administration charges.
To that extent, it’s not instantly clear what fees Marogna may face if she was merely on the receiving finish of consulting charges accredited by Becciu, who had been given broad discretionary authority to handle the secretariat of state’s belongings by none apart from the secretary himself, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Becciu was the “substitute” within the secretariat of state from 2011-2018, throughout which era on the authentic actual property funding was made. However his alternative and the present No. 2 truly signed off on the final section of the deal that has value the Vatican a lot cash.
Neither Becciu nor his alternative have been formally recognized as suspects within the case, although when Francis fired Becciu final month, he additionally revoked his rights and privileges as a cardinal, that means he may ultimately be judged by Vatican magistrates.
Becciu, who like Marogna is from Sardinia, has denied wrongdoing and defended the unique funding as sound.
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