ROME (AP) — The Vatican cardinal sacked by Pope Francis amid a corruption investigation is suing an Italian information journal, claiming that his ruined status has eradicated his probabilities of turning into pope and can undermine the legitimacy of any future papal election.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu is searching for 10 million euros ($11.9 million) in damages, to be given to charity, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday within the Sassari, Sardinia tribunal in opposition to L’Espresso journal, the weekly affiliated with Italian every day newspaper La Repubblica.
The 74-page criticism raises questions concerning the conduct of Vatican prison prosecutors, suggesting they leaked data to L’Espresso as they sought to construct a corruption case across the Holy See’s 350 million-euro ($416 million) funding in a London actual property enterprise.
Thus far, Becciu has not been underneath investigation in that case or some other, he mentioned in an announcement asserting the lawsuit’s submitting.
Becciu resigned Sept. 24 because the prefect of the Vatican’s saint-making workplace after Francis introduced him with allegations he had despatched some 100,000 euros ($119,000) in Holy See funds to a Sardinian charity managed by his brother. Becciu admitted he despatched the funds to the charity- not his brother – and informed reporters he had executed nothing fallacious.
Becciu on the time of the switch was the No. 2 within the Vatican secretariat of state, and loved full authority to handle the division’s substantial asset portfolio, together with utilizing it for charitable donations.
In his authorized criticism, Becciu claimed that his ouster was a coordinated hit job with L’Espresso, which broke the story of the fee to his brother in a narrative that went to the printers Sept. 24.
The criticism alleges Francis had a duplicate of the journal’s article on his desk through the Sept. 24 assembly at which he sacked Becciu, suggesting an inner leak of the article to the Vatican. The L’Espresso’s writer has mentioned some early editions “disappeared” from the printer that night time and ended up on the pope’s desk.
The criticism additionally says that almost eight hours earlier than Becciu’s 6 p.m. assembly with Francis, L’Espresso created a webpage with an article entitled “Because of this Cardinal Becciu resigned.” Citing the timestamp of the positioning’s metadata, the criticism argues that the journal knew about Becciu’s ouster earlier than he did, suggesting coordination with the Vatican.
L’Espresso has been main the cost in opposition to Becciu, with a collection of unsourced and speculative articles outlining prosecutors’ case in opposition to him, a few of them citing unnamed Vatican investigators however others providing no attribution for the journal’s claims.
Vatican prosecutors have been investigating the London actual property enterprise for over a 12 months however haven’t indicted anybody. Becciu’s ouster got here simply days earlier than the Vatican started displaying off its efforts at larger monetary transparency and accountability throughout a go to by evaluators from the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee. The committee, Moneyval, has faulted the Vatican tribunal up to now for failing to research or prosecute alleged monetary crimes.
In his criticism, Becciu mentioned the harm to his status had harmed him personally in addition to the Catholic trustworthy at giant.
As a strong cardinal with pastoral, diplomatic and Vatican expertise, Becciu had been thought of “papabile” earlier than his downfall. However the criticism mentioned that by being compelled to relinquish his rights as a cardinal, Becciu had misplaced his probability to sooner or later change into pope.
The criticism additionally mentioned that Becciu’s absence from a future conclave as a voting cardinal “might give rise to questions concerning the validity of the election,” dividing the church and requiring a expensive second conclave.
L’Espresso has stood by its reporting, calling his lawsuit a “stupefying assault.” In Italy, journalists may be accused of each prison and civil defamation.
The journal’s editor-in-chief, Marco Damilano, didn’t deny the pope had an advance copy of its story, however mentioned it was ridiculous to assume that “a single journalistic article” prompted him to fireside Becciu.
“L’Espresso is accused of getting not solely influenced the present pope but additionally the Holy Spirit that would have chosen Becciu as his successor, if it weren’t for an article to dam his ascent,” Damilano wrote.