Cardinal Angelo Becciu was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months in prison by the Vatican tribunal following the trial of the so-called “London Building” case, on December 16, 2023. His lawyer announced that he wanted to appeal this decision.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months in prison by the Vatican City CourtVatican, Saturday December 16, 2023. This sentence is accompanied by a fine of 8,000 euros and a perpetual ban on holding public office. This conviction comes after two years of trial for the so-called “London building” affair.
Former substitute of the Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018 (“number 3” of the Vatican), the prelate was found guilty of embezzlement – of 200,500,000 dollars, or nearly 184 million euros – in the financial operation which between 2013 and 2014 resulted in the acquisition of a building in London with funds belonging to the Secretary of State. This investment was made through a hedge fund administered by the Anglo-Italian banker Raffaele Mincione which had “highly speculative characteristics and which implied for the investor a high risk on capital without any possibility of management control”. Nine other defendants were convicted, mostly secularists, two escaped prison sentences and one was found innocent.
An unprecedented conviction
The cardinal was also found guilty of embezzlement in two other operations. First, as part of two payments made with money from the Secretariat of State in 2015 and 2018 to a diocesan association in Sardinia managed by his brother. In a final case, he was accused of hiring the intermediary Cecilia Marogna with the aim of freeing a nun held hostage in the Sahel. Mgr Becciu was found guilty of having paid Cecilia Marogna a sum of 570,000 euros which was ultimately used for purposes other than the release of the nun.
This is the first time in history that a civil court in Vatican City has handed down a sentence against a cardinal. Three years earlier, in September 2020, Cardinal Becciu submitted his resignation to the Pope after being the subject of an internal Vatican investigation. His trial began in July 2021, during which the cardinal pleaded not guilty. Bishop Becciu’s lawyer has already announced his intention to appeal this decision, which would suspend the prison sentence before the new judgment.