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200 witnesses to testify in ‘Vatican trial of a century’ on financial scandals
RNS ^ | June 22, 2022 | Claire Giangravé

Posted on 06/23/2022 3:48:31 AM PDT by robowombat

200 witnesses to testify in ‘Vatican trial of a century’ on financial scandals

A trial that began a year ago has so far heard from 10 witnesses.

June 22, 2022 By Claire Giangravé

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Earlier this month, Giuseppe Pignatone, one of the judges overseeing the Vatican’s “trial of a century,” concerning corruption and money laundering by Catholic Church officials, joked that he hoped the proceedings would end by 2050.

At least, it was thought to be a joke: At Wednesday’s session, the judges announced that the prosecution and defendants plan to call more than 200 witnesses in a trial that has already taken nearly a year to get through 10 defendants.

The trial started in July of 2021 with defendants facing interrogation by Vatican prosecutors, judges and the lawyers of other defendants.

At the heart of the case is the controversial purchase by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State of a property at 60 Sloane Ave. in London, which according to Vatican prosecutors cost the church 350 million euros (about $370 million), drawn in part from donations to a papal charity called Peter’s Pence.

So far the trial has put a spotlight on turf wars and rivalries among members of the Vatican departments and offices that make up the Roman Curia. The hearing on Wednesday (June 22) focused on the role played by the fund managers and consultants who oversaw the Vatican’s investment portfolio.

Enrico Crasso, a former employee of the bank Credit Suisse who served the Holy See as an investment manager for 26 years, answered questions for the second time at the trial on Wednesday, and declared his innocence. He is charged with embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering, fraud, abuse of office and varying types of forgery.

“Eleven indictments are not few,” Crasso said. “I hope that this court wants to judge my activity as a manager and does not put me in a position to pay for the activities of other (defendants).”

In his previous hearing, May 30, Crasso had said he was sidelined by the Vatican in 2014 when it chose to invest in Raffaele Mincione’s fund, Athena, which owned the London property. Mincione is also charged with fraud and embezzlement for allegedly draining profits from the investment through fees and commissions.

Crasso questioned Mincione’s management of the fund, maintaining that the financier used the Vatican’s money to pay for his takeover of the troubled Italian bank Carige. Crasso said he told the secretariat that the costs of Mincione’s fund were excessively high.

Crasso said he broke with Mincione officially in 2016, more than two years after he first introduced him to Vatican staffers to pitch an investment in an oil operation in Angola, an idea that was scrapped in favor of the London property deal.

Crasso told the judges that his role was to act as a “bulwark in defending the Secretariat of State’s liquidity, and not a tool to fraud anyone.”

Crasso said he was present at some of the principal meetings that laid out the London property deal; he said he was “always summoned by Fabrizio Tirabassi,” who handled the finances of the Secretariat of State and is another defendant at the trial.

“I never had formal assignments” from the Secretariat of State, Crasso said.

RELATED: Vatican knew about risks of London deal, says financier who brokered it

The management of the London property was eventually handed over to another Italian fund manager, Gianluigi Torzi, who assured the Secretariat of State that he could convince Mincione to hand over the property. Crasso said he was called back into the deal by the secretariat to oversee the transition as a representative of Credit Suisse.

In November 2018, Torzi handed over the majority of the shares of the fund that owned the London property but kept 1,000 voting shares that kept control of the real estate in his hands. Vatican prosecutors have charged Torzi with embezzlement, fraud and money laundering, claiming he extorted $15 million from the secretariat to relinquish the voting shares.

Crasso acknowledged he was present during the signing of the deal in London but denied knowing anything about Torzi’s voting shares. Attending the meeting was “a very big mistake,” Crasso said, adding that a Secretariat of State official, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, asked him to attend.

Initially investigated by Vatican prosecutors, Perlasca is now a star witness in the proceedings.

Vatican judges fixed the next trial date for July 7, when they will interrogate remaining defendants and begin the task of interrogating the numerous witnesses before the tribunal goes on its summer break.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events

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1 posted on 06/23/2022 3:48:31 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

Horowitz: I’ve sued the Roman Catholic Church for billions of dollars!!

2 posted on 06/23/2022 4:00:24 AM PDT by Scarlett156 (Women can be abusers, too. *sexy voice* So...which pair of brass knuckles suits my skin tone best?)
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To: robowombat

Haha, a little less than ten years ago the Catholics started buying up property in this hood. Most of the neighbs at the time were not in favor. The HOA met a few times over it but it didn’t stop anything. The main concern was that another bunch of properties around Vail, CO that the church had acquired and made a “retreat” on (that’s what they apparently did with some of the properties they bought around here) had caught fire and many structures and a lot of trees burned - the HOA was concerned the same thing would happen here with the RCs walking away with a big chunk of insurance money for it and the long-time residents losing everything, meanwhile.

They started bringing in M3xicans - uh, oh, right: REFUGEES FROM VENEZUELA, sorry - I actually know the exact day because I was keeping notes. There was a bunch of cussing, threats, and screaming, cars and trucks going in and out - I had already been warned about the m3xicans by a neighbor and knew that’s what it was.

I went on twatter and started snarking about it: “Oh, here come the m3xicans, right on schedule! THANK YOU CATHOLIC CRUDS!” and this one guy I followed, a catholic, started taking me to task about it: “How could you be so heartless towards people who simply need shelter and food?” (and then he unfollowed me, lol).

And now there are signs of meth trafficking. And Russians. The Russians are very belligerent. And they spy on people. Like, constantly. But they’re CATHOLICS. (I don’t go out for walks any more because no less than three times since I’ve moved here multiple guys in one car will pull over and ask me if I “need a ride” - to which I put one hand suggestively in my hoodie pocket and say with a smile “No, thanks!”) (Did I mention that every time this has happened, the men in the car had Russian accents? Those rascally Catholics! LOL)

3 posted on 06/23/2022 4:12:59 AM PDT by Scarlett156 (Women can be abusers, too. *sexy voice* So...which pair of brass knuckles suits my skin tone best?)
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To: robowombat

And................they will play the Hillary card and walk

4 posted on 06/23/2022 4:31:59 AM PDT by ronnie raygun
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To: robowombat

Tell me it ain’t so, catholics, the salt of the earth, how could this be???

Must be taking lessons from the Jews!

5 posted on 06/23/2022 5:58:28 AM PDT by Herakles (Diversity is applied Marxism )
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To: Scarlett156

Along the Hudson River in NY many religious orders have retreat properties; even with the general decline of the area they are very valuable - and untaxed. As the orders attrite into oblivion, at some point they’ll have to sell the properties or face taxes on them (if they serve no religious purpose). Hard to wave the basket in peoples’ faces when you sit on valuable unused parcels like that.

6 posted on 06/23/2022 6:22:46 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: kearnyirish2

It’s the same story with Scientology only a little worse. They blackmailed and threatened IRS execs until they gained a tax exemption for being a “church,” so in their case the grift is even more galling.

They (Scientology) own a huge amount of property. If they started having to pay taxes on it, things would change radically for them. (Not that I’m a big fan of taxes. Everyone should get a break. But CLEARLY the churches are taking unfair advantage of the exemption.)

They also engage in human trafficking: Sheltering illegal aliens, sex trafficking, drugs, etc.

I guess people are getting wise to their “Narconon” scam: Families are suing, even though it’s quite difficult to get a favorable judgment after being scammed by them, and some of their people in California are under indictment for fraud. Underground Bunker reported that they did some checking on some of the Narconon facilities and a lot of them are now sitting empty - properties listed as costing up $40 million.

Since a lot of these “churches” don’t bother to stay the h3ll out of politics, perhaps none of them should have a tax exemption any more.

7 posted on 06/23/2022 9:44:53 AM PDT by Scarlett156 (Women can be abusers, too. *sexy voice* So...which pair of brass knuckles suits my skin tone best?)
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To: robowombat

Will they all go to hell? : )

8 posted on 06/23/2022 11:54:21 AM PDT by minnesota_bound (Need more money to buy everything now)
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