In the wake of the scandal surrounding the London property, the Vatican has submitted a compensation claim of a staggering 138 million euros. According to the Holy See, this amount represents the damage to its reputation suffered during the affair. The figure was determined by experts who assessed the extent of the harm.
Paola Severino, former Minister of Justice, legally represents the Secretariat of State and Apsa in the lawsuit related to the Holy See’s investments in the City of London. The accusation revolves around the claim that the defendants acted recklessly, squandering millions in risky operations and relying on consultants solely interested in their own gains.
Among the accused, the name of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu stands out as a key figure in the Vatican. Becciu, previously an influential member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, was removed from his position in September 2020 due to suspicions of possible misconduct on his part. Despite losing some of his cardinal privileges, Becciu continues to be a prominent figure within the Church. Despite the accusations, the cardinal has consistently asserted his innocence.
In connection with the London property affair, the name of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, who was the head of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State at the time, has emerged as one of the main accusers of Becciu. However, Perlasca has not been brought to trial.
Further hearings for the case are scheduled to take place at the Vatican Museums. In July, the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, put forward his sentencing requests. Becciu faces a potential 7 years and 3 months of imprisonment, a lifetime ban from public office, and a fine of 10,329 euros. Other defendants, such as René Brülhart, Enrico Crasso, and Tommaso Di Ruzza, also face severe penalties. All of them will be required to respond to the compensation claim made by the Holy See.
Throughout the proceedings, Cardinal Becciu has maintained his defense, asserting his innocence. His lawyers, Maria Concetta Marzo and Fabio Viglione, have rejected the accusations, emphasizing that acquittal should be the only possible outcome considering the evidence at their disposal.
The Cardinal Becciu case represents one of the most controversial and critical moments in the recent history of the Vatican, highlighting the delicate power balances and complex financial dynamics of the Holy See.
As the Cardinal Becciu case unfolds, it not only exposes the Vatican to a substantial financial risk but also casts a shadow over the broader issues of transparency and accountability within the Church. This high-profile scandal has raised fundamental questions about the management of Vatican finances, the oversight of investments, and the ethical conduct of senior clergy members. It has triggered a call for greater scrutiny and reform in an institution deeply rooted in tradition.