Cardinal Angelo Becciu has “categorically” denied interfering in the trial of Cardinal Pell, after unconfirmed media reports suggested he may have used Vatican funds to bribe witnesses.
In a statement issued by his lawyer on Wednesday, the former Prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes also denied that he used Vatican funds to enrich himself, his family or people of influence.
CNS reports that Becciu’s lawyer said the cardinal “serenely awaits the results of every assessment, in any forum, which will finally confirm his fidelity to the Holy Father and the Church.”
Pope Francis asked the cardinal to resign last month. The day after his resignation, Becciu told reporters he was accused of embezzling an estimated €100,000 of Vatican funds and redirecting them to Spes, a Caritas organization run by his brother.
In the following days, Italian and international media reported several questionable financial transactions the cardinal allegedly made with Vatican funds during the time he was “sostituto” in the Secretariat of State.
Italian media reports claimed that Cardinal Becciu allegedly sent €700,000 to Australia during the trial of his long-time rival, Cardinal Pell. Subsequent reports in British, US and Australian media suggested the money went to witnesses in the trial, however no sources for the information have been provided.
“I categorically deny interfering in any way in the trial of Cardinal Pell,” the Cardinal Becciu said in his statement on Wednesday.
In addition, Italian news programme La Iene claimed the Vatican Secretariat of State sent an estimated €500,000 over a period of five years to a humanitarian organization in Slovenia run by Sardinian political analyst, Cecilia Marogna.
The show travelled to Slovenia to track her down, but her alleged “humanitarian organisation” turned out only to be a mailbox at the address listed for the organization’s office.
“Everything said about me? All lies. Me, the cardinal’s lover? Absurd,” Marogna told Corriere della Sera on Tuesday, even though none of the accusations alleged a relationship between her and Becciu.
“I am a political analyst and an intelligence expert who works honestly and who pays rent while caring for my daughter,” she said.
Marogna said the money was used for “diplomatic trips, payments to information sources, mediations and bank transfers to humanitarian foundations.”
Becciu has denied any improper contact with Marogna.