Vatican charges 10 with fraud, extortion in real estate scheme

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The Vatican’s criminal tribunal announced charges Saturday morning against 10 people, relating to the Secretariat of State’s participation in an investment fund and purchase of a building in London, according to reports.

Five Vatican ex-officials, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, were indicted, along with Italian businessmen involved in the dealings.

The charges include money-laundering, fraud, extortion, and abuse of office, according to Vatican News.

Prosecutors accused the suspects of extracting millions of euros from the Vatican through a web of financial transactions.

The Vatican said the international investigation, which began in 2019, “brought to light a vast web of relationships with operators in the financial markets that generated substantial losses for Vatican finances which also drew from those resources destined for the Holy Father’s personal acts of charity.”

The president of the tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, has scheduled the first hearing for July 27.

The charges are “directly connected to the directives and reforms [of Pope Francis],” according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office.

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