Vatican: Former Pope’s Adviser Bags Five Years Jail Term Over Financial Crimes

A former adviser to Pope Francis and Italian Cardinal, Angelo Becciu, has bagged five and half years jail term over financial crimes.

The 75 years old who was sentenced by Vatican court, was the most senior Vatican official ever to face such charges and once seen as a papal contender himself.

The trial was premised on a London property deal that ended in huge losses for the Catholic Church.

He also pleaded not guilty to the charges which include embezzlement and abuse of office brought against him.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Becciu’s lawyer argued that his client was not guilty, hence, to approach an appeal court.

He was on trial with nine other defendants. All were convicted on some counts and found not guilty on others. The trial, which exposed infighting and intrigue in the highest Vatican ranks, had been going on for two-and-a-half years.

After three judges spent more than five hours considering the verdict, Court President Giuseppe Pignatone announced that Cardinal Becciu had been convicted of embezzlement.

The others, who included financiers, lawyers and ex-Vatican employees, were accused of various crimes, including fraud, money laundering and abuse of office. They all denied wrongdoing.

The case – the first of a Cardinal standing trial in a Vatican court – was the stuff of intrigue and skulduggery. It involved allegations of financial impropriety at the top of the Vatican, cloak-and-dagger activity of the kind that has often characterised the secretive world of the Holy See.

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