The Vatican has abandoned its extradition request for an Italian woman sought on charges related to financial misconduct connected to a series of scandals that recently have rocked the highest levels of power in the Church.
At the hearing on Monday in an Italian court in Milan, the Vatican said it is not seeking to detain the woman, 39-year-old Cecilia Marogna, suspected of involvement in shady dealings somehow connected to disgraced Cardinal Angelo Becciu and a £200 million Sloane Avenue real estate development in London. That removed the reason for the hearing, which was to evaluate the extradition request.
A statement from the Press Office of the Holy See on Monday said the purpose of the Vatican’s move was to pave the way for Marogna to participate “freely” in the “imminent” proceedings against her in Vatican City court. “Among other things,” the Vatican statement said, “the initiative intends to allow the defendant … to participate in the trial in the Vatican, free from the pending precautionary measure against her.”
The Vatican statement noted that Marogna had “already refused to defend herself by not appearing for questioning before the Italian judicial authority, requested by the Promoter of Justice through a rogatory procedure,” i.e. when one court asks another court in a different jurisdiction to cooperate in an investigation or proceeding.
There is no extradition treaty between Italy and either the Holy See or Vatican City, and Vatican watchers were wondering whether the court might not have ruled against the Vatican’s request on grounds the Vatican could not guarantee Marogna’s right to fair trial – something that would have been only the latest in a series of black eyes for Vatican justice.