Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the former head of the office of “miracles” that minted saints, was found guilty Saturday of three counts of embezzlement and sentenced to five years and six months in prison, Anthony Faiola and Stefano Pitrelli report for the Washington Post. Becciu and nine other Vatican officials embezzled 200 million euros from 2013 to 2014 tied to a bad Vatican investment in a tony London property that led to massive losses.
Becciu was also found guilty of illegally funneling 125,000 euros (about $136,400) to a Sardinian charity run by his brother and transferring 570,000 euros (about $622,000) to Cecilia Marogna, a Sardinian woman with a humanitarian organization in Slovenia who, Becciu said, was supposed to help free a kidnapped nun. He was acquitted of charges of money laundering, abuse of office and influencing a witness. Becciu was barred from holding any Vatican office and fined 8,000 euros (around $8,700). Eight of Becciu’s co-defendants — Vatican officials, Italian business executives, consultants and brokers — were found guilty of financial crimes or abuse of office. A ninth was acquitted of all charges. Becciu resigned as head of the Vatican department that leads the canonization process and Pope Francis stripped him of his privileges as cardinal before any finding of guilt. The court ordered the guilty to pay the Vatican more than $200 million in restitution. A lawyer for Becciu rejected the verdict.