The Vatican charged 10 persons with financial crimes on Saturday, including an Italian cardinal. The charges follow an inquiry by the Vatican Gendarmerie.
The charges center around the Vatican Secretariat of State’s investment in Raffaele Mincione’s Athena Capital Global Opportunities Fund. Mincione, who allegedly used fund money for personal investments, received charges of “embezzlement, fraud, abuse of office, embezzlement and self-laundering.”
Mincione’s fund operated between June of 2013 and February of 2014. The Secretariat of State borrowed $200 million to invest in the fund. €18 million had been lost by September of 2018. According to the Vatican, the fund manager had a conflict of interest because he risked others’ capital to further his personal interests.
In addition, Mincione allegedly undervalued a London property to deceive the Secretariat of State into agreeing to an inaccurate price and contracted a €75 million debt with a Dutch bank without informing the Secretariat of State.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who became involved because of interference, received charges for embezzlement and abuse of office. He allegedly used the Secretariat of State’s funds for non-charitable purposes including financing his family members. Although Becciu has kept his title on paper, the Pope required his resignation over the alleged crimes in 2020.
Monsignor Mauro Carlino, Becciu’s former secretary, was charged with abuse of office and extortion. Enrico Crasso, a financial broker with a long history of managing the Secretariat of State’s investments, was charged with “embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering and self-laundering, fraud, abuse of office, forgery of a public deed committed by a private individual and forgery in a private document.”
Nicola Squillace, a lawyer “involved in the negotiations that Torzi take over for Mincione”, was charged with “fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and self-laundering.” Fabrizio Tirabassi, a notetaker for the Secretariat of State’s Administrative Office, was charged with “corruption, extortion, embezzlement, fraud and abuse of office.”
Gianluigi Torzi, a broker “called to help the Holy See get out of the fund owned by Mincione who succeeded in liquidating … 15 million so the property could return to its legitimate owners”, received charged for “extortion, embezzlement, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and self-laundering.” Tommaso Di Ruzza, the Vatican’s Supervisory and Financial Information Authority’s (AIF) former director, was charged with abuse of office, embezzlement and breaching confidentiality.
René Brülhart, AIF’s former President, was charged with abuse of office. Cecilia Marogna, who provided intelligence services to the Secretariat of State, was charged with embezzlement. Her company received Vatican money which she allegedly used for personal purposes. In relation to her alleged financial crimes, Marogna was arrested in Italy last year.
The trial is scheduled to commence on 27 July.