VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has accused a former director of the Vatican bank and his lawyer of money laundering and embezzlement, saying the men skimmed an estimated 57 million euros (about $68 million) off profits from the sale of Vatican properties.
The trial of Angelo Caloia, who served as president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the bank, and his lawyer, Gabriele Liuzzo, began in the Vatican courtroom May 9.
The Vatican had announced in late 2014 that the two men — along with Lelio Scaletti, the former director general of the bank — were under investigation in a case involving the sale of 29 Vatican-owned buildings in Rome and Milan between 2001 and 2008. Scaletti has since died.
During the investigation, the Vatican had frozen a total of about 17 million euros ($20 million) in the Vatican bank accounts of the three men. At the opening of the trial May 9, Gian Piero Milano, the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, said that at the Vatican’s request, the Swiss government froze another 10 million euros ($11.8 million) in a Swiss account in Liuzzo’s name.
The first session of the trial lasted almost four hours and included a formal reading of the charges, the presentation of the lists of witnesses expected to be called and the entry of procedural requests. While not setting a date for the next session, the court asked the defense team to submit a reduced list of witnesses by May 18; the initial list submitted by the defense included more than 50 witnesses, including many cardinals who were or are part of the council overseeing the bank.
The court also agreed to a defense request for an official Italian translation of an English-language report of an audit the bank asked the U.S.- based Promontory Financial Group to conduct. The audit, performed at the request of the bank’s new leadership, prompted the Vatican’s criminal investigation into allegations that the accused sold Vatican property and officially reported a much lower sales price than they actually received, pocketing the difference.
The Vatican court also agreed to a defense request for an independent audit of the properties involved.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103