Demoted cardinal denies sending $ 1 million to Australia to interfere with witnesses in the sexual abuse trial of rival Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was stripped of his right to vote on the next pope last month after he said the Vatican accused him of embezzlement
Two Italian newspapers, La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, reported this weekend that he had also authorized money to be wired to Australia to be handed over to those who helped set up a case against Cardinal Pell
The plot was part of a plan to stop Cardinal Pell’s investigations into Cardinal Becciu’s financial transactions, it has been alleged
Cardinal Becciu, who resigned after a meeting with the Pope last month, strongly denied the reports
« I categorically deny any interference in Cardinal Pell’s trial, » The Times of London reported
The two were bitter rivals in the Vatican, which sources say can be an extremely competitive place as cardinals and bishops vie for the pope’s attention.
Cardinal Becciu used « journalists and contacts to discredit his enemies, » Corriere della Sera report says
« It is precisely in this vein that the payment to Australia would have been made, possibly in connection with Pell’s lawsuit, » the article says.
The newspaper did not allege that Cardinal Becciu personally sent the money, or to whom it was sent.
« The year and date of the transfer are recorded in the archives of the Secretariat of State », according to the source National Catholic Register
The former choir that accused George Pell of mistreating him in the 1990s denied knowledge of Vatican bribes allegedly paid to witnesses against Pell
The man, known in Pell’s trial as Witness J, spoke out after sensational reports that $ 1.1million was sent to Australia to build a case against Pell
He was one of two altar boys Pell was convicted of sexual assault before the convictions were overturned following a High Court appeal
« My client denies any knowledge or receipt of any payment He will not comment further in response to these allegations, » his lawyer, Dr Vivian Waller said today.
Victoria Police said today no one has reported the allegations to them and they are not investigating
The Cardinals’ bitter feud was sparked in 2016 when Cardinal Pell attempted an audit of Vatican finances
« I couldn’t allow her to say something like that since I was a child my parents had always taught me to be honest, « he said, according to The Times of London.
He had served more than 400 days in Barwon Maximum Security Prison in Victoria after being convicted of abusing two 13-year-old choristers in the 1990s, before the verdict was overturned on appeal by a unanimous decision
Cardinal Pell returned to Rome last week after obtaining a travel exemption from the Australian government
He returned to his Vatican apartment where he had to self-isolate for 14 days due to COVID-19 restrictions
Australian Cardinal George Pell returned to his apartment in the Vatican, where he was to advise the Pope on a financial scandal
He arrived at his old home Wednesday evening Australian time, the first time he has set foot in the church capital since being acquitted of child abuse charges in Victoria
He was allowed to leave Australia despite the strict travel bans in place, with common exemptions, including those who go abroad for more than three months
Cardinal Pell to provide information and advice on financial corruption investigations within the Catholic Church upon his return to the Vatican
News Corp Australia understands that Pell was encouraged to return due to his knowledge of Vatican financial systems, having been his former treasurer
A source close to Cardinal Pell said the Pope himself made Pell’s request and he was to be in the Vatican for a long time
Damian Thompson, religious commentator and deputy editor of British magazine The Spectator, said the Pope would need Pell’s advice on financial matters after Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu resigned last week over allegations of « embezzlement. »
« The Pope is deeply involved in this mess and it is very wise of him to consult Cardinal Pell in the circumstances, » he said
Pell, 79, had been in Sydney since April after the High Court overturned his child sexual abuse convictions
He had served more than 400 days in Barwon Maximum Security Prison in Victoria after being convicted of abusing two 13-year-old choristers in the 1990s, before the verdict was overturned on appeal
Pell was appointed Vatican treasurer in 2014 and was investigating corruption allegations before being indicted in Victoria
Cardinal Becciu resigned from Vatican post last week as he claimed to have abused Church funds
A controversial real estate transaction on a $ 363 million commercial building in London’s Chelsea district was at the center of the scandal
He was also accused of using money from « Peter’s pence », money intended for distribution to the poor, to finance the businesses of his brothers.
Cardinal Becciu, who is no longer authorized to vote on the name of the next pope, was presented with concerns during a 20-minute meeting with Pope Francis
« When we met, the Holy Father told me that I was promoting my brothers and their businesses with money from the Secretariat of State, » Becciu told reporters last week.
« I said to the Pope: Why are you doing this to me? In front of the whole world, nevertheless
« I gave my brother money only because I bought lamps from his company for the nunciatures in Egypt and Cuba. I see no crime »
Pell said last week after Pope sacked Becciu the pontiff played a « long game »
« The Holy Father was elected to clean up the Vatican’s finances He is playing a long game and should be thanked and congratulated for the recent developments, » he said
Pope Francis made an extraordinary statement at a mass shortly after Pell’s acquittal following an appeal from the Australian High Court
« I would like to pray today for all those people who are suffering from unjust sentences resulting from intransigence (against them) », the Pope said in April
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