ROME — In the ongoing Vatican trial sparked by a disastrous multimillion-dollar property deal in London, Vatican prosecutors handed over new indictments for four individuals on charges involving financial malfeasance and corruption.
At the sixth session of the Vatican trial Jan. 25, Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican City State criminal court, apologized for starting two hours late, but said the presiding judges were poring over documents handed over by prosecutors earlier in the day, including the new indictments.
The four defendants included in those indictments were London-based Italian financier Raffaele Mincione, the owner of the property in London’s Chelsea district; Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former official at the Secretariat of State; Nicola Squillace, a Milan-based lawyer who helped broker the London property deal; and Msgr. Mauro Carlino, Cardinal Angelo Becciu’s former secretary.
The Vatican court originally charged and brought to trial 10 individuals, including the four men reindicted and Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, as well as four companies.
But in October, the court ordered the prosecution to redo its investigations of four of the defendants and the four companies.
At the session Jan. 25, Fabio Viglione, one of Becciu’s lawyers, once again called for the charges against the cardinal to be thrown out on grounds that prosecutors have yet to hand over the evidence the cardinal’s legal team requested to prepare his defense.
The cardinal’s team, he said, wants access to two cellphones, a computer, a tablet and the contents of an email account all belonging to Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, the former head of the Secretariat of State’s administrative office, who went from possible suspect to the prosecution’s main witness.
Viglione also said that of the 255 pieces of evidence obtained by prosecutors, only 16 were copied and given to the defense. Furthermore, he said, even that evidence was redacted or incomplete.
Becciu, who had been present at every other session of the trial, was noticeably absent. Maria Concetta Marzo, another lawyer representing the cardinal, said he “did not want to participate” due to the lack of evidence and so he would not have to listen to the contents of Perlasca’s interrogation by prosecutors.
Marzo criticized the way prosecutors questioned Perlasca, including questions regarding the possibility of “an intimate relationship” between the cardinal and Cecilia Marogna, an Italian political analyst who allegedly was hired as a consultant by Becciu.
Marogna is also facing charges of embezzling money through a humanitarian organization she ran in Slovenia.
Responding to Becciu’s lawyer, Vatican deputy prosecutor Alessandro Diddi said he was confident in the work done by his office and expressed consternation as to what material the defense claimed was missing.
Nevertheless, Pignatone gave prosecutors until Feb. 1 to provide an explanation regarding the missing information. He also announced the court would reconvene Feb. 18 with all 10 defendants when the court would rule on the complaints made by defendants’ lawyers.