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Cardinal Maradiaga accused of financial wrongdoing

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Getty Images)

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga is facing allegations of financial mismanagement, although no formal allegations or charges have been raised so far.

Italian media outlet L’Espresso reported that Argentine bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto, who had been sent as an apostolic envoy last May, claimed the cardinal may have mismanaged Church funds and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Catholic university.

Cardinal Maradiaga allegedly invested more than $1.2 million in various London financial companies, some of which has now vanished.

The article also claimed that Archbishop Casaretto’s report mentions allegations against Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda of Tegucigalpa. He is accused of allowing “reckless financial operations” and giving church funds to friends, including buying someone an apartment and car.

There are also “irregularities” involving large sums of money from the diocesan media operation, although L’Espresso did not go into specifics.

Cardinal Maradiaga allegedly received nearly $600,000 from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa in 2015, and may have received similar sums in previous years, in his role as Grand Chancellor of the university.

Usually, such a position is purely ceremonial, with little or no financial compensation.

Cardinal Maradiaga was appointed as a leading figure in Pope Francis’s efforts to reform the curia in 2013. He has become well known in Latin America for his outspoken views on poverty.

Cardinal Maradiaga has so far not commented.