First cardinal prosecuted in Vatican’s criminal court convicted of embezzlement

 A Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a cardinal of embezzlement and sentenced him to 5 ½ years in prison in one of several verdicts handed down in a complicated financial trial that aired the city state’s dirty laundry and tested its justice system.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the first cardinal ever prosecuted by the Vatican criminal court, was absolved of several other charges and nine other defendants received a combination of guilty verdicts and acquittals among the nearly 50 charges brought against them during a 2 ½ year trial.

Becciu’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said he respected the sentence but would appeal.

Prosecutor Alessandro Diddi said the outcome “showed we were correct.”

The trial focused on the Vatican secretariat of state’s 350 million euro investment in developing a former Harrod’s warehouse into luxury apartments. Prosecutors alleged Vatican monsignors and brokers fleeced the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees and commissions and then extorted the Holy See for 15 million euros to cede control of the building.

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