Vatican Trial: Update on Recent Sessions (2)

November 10, 2022

Various witnesses were heard during the last session of the trial where many accused, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, appeared before the court regarding various facts, but especially regarding everything surrounding the case of the so-called “London building” on Sloane Avenue.

The 31st session saw five witnesses at the bar: 3 gendarmes, a judicial police consultant, and a bishop.

Police Investigations

The session focused on the investigative procedures used by the Vatican Gendarmerie: bank supervision, analysis of data from seized devices (mobile phones, iPads, computers), encrypted messaging applications, and images captured by security cameras .

Luca De Leo, computer technician at the Gendarmerie Security Center, explained his activity: “Everything concerning data, always at the request of the promoter. Thus, wiretapping, interrogations, extractions from PCs, smartphones and email accounts, searches.

In total, the devices acquired, analyzed and added to the files numbered 243. This revived an old controversy at the start of the trial: the defense lawyers complained of having received only “partial” pieces of evidence. The controversy was settled by the order of March 1, 2022.

De Leo explained in detail and technically how he carried out his investigations from extractions and downloads, to searches by keywords and timestamps. In some cases, the gendarmes even came across erased data.

The 3% Document

A letter dated April 17, 2019, in which the Secretary of State guarantees the broker Torzi 3% of the value of the London property, was projected on the wall. However, this 3% document only existed virtually: there was “never a physical copy. Or in any case, it was never found during the various searches.”

Cecilia Marogna’s Deposits

Gendarme Luca Bassetti, of the judicial police section, described the investigation into the Cecilia Marogna case: nine transfers were made for the benefit of Logsic, the company of which Marogna was the sole owner, and two transfers of 500,000 euros each to the intelligence company British Inkermann, who was supposed to manage the mission to free the kidnapped sister in Mali.

The “voluntary contribution to the humanitarian operation” was the reason for each transfer. A message from 2018 – when the cardinal was no longer at the Secretariat of State, asked Perlasca for €14,150 immediately “to begin the famous operation.”

AIF Report

Bassetti pointed to a report from AIF (now ASIF) of “suspicious transaction” regarding a cash deposit on September 4, 2018, possibly delivered by Marogna. In addition, money from Logsic's account had been used by Cecilia Marogna utilizing money from the Slovenian account to pay for two nights in four-star hotels in Sardinia.

At the time of these transactions, Becciu was no longer substitute, and his successor, Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, claimed to have had no knowledge of them. These payments were made by Credit Suisse on the order of Tirabassi, through an email to which was attached the payment order of the substitute, the only one with signing authority.

Tirabassi Accounts

Mr. Luigi Cosi, auxiliary of the judicial police, was questioned about the investigation concerning the Tirabassi accounts. A dozen were opened at UBS Switzerland. According to Cosi, the defendant had 1.9 million euros seized in Switzerland.

The session ended with the testimony of gendarme Gianluigi Antonucci on the financing of the Secretariat of State for the Spes cooperative in Ozieri. The witness reiterated arguments and assumptions that had already come up in previous hearings. He explained that the profits made by Spes “did not go to Caritas.”

At the start of the 32nd hearing, the president of the Tribunal invited the prosecution and the defense to formulate the questions in such a way as not to repeat facts present in the documents or far removed from the charges.

Gendarme Gianluigi Antonucci, again at the helm, explained the relevant accounts at the Holy See by the payments to the diocese of Ozieri. The transfers “came out of a Secretariat of State account, held at IOR,” in the name of the General Affairs Section, accounts through which “very large sums intended Peter’s Pence pass.”

Among the many transfers, there is that of 100,000 euros to Caritas in Ozieri, from which Spes would have benefited for solidarity projects, requested by Becciu on June 13, 2013. But according to Antonucci, “In theory, the sum had not been spent. The sum is also not been returned.”

A long exchange between the various parties revolved around this sum. The positions hardened. For the investigators, there is disappearance of money, while Cardinal Becciu’s defense affirms that the sums were used for charitable purposes.