News
Vatican criminal trial to shed light on failed Carige bank takeover
20 Jul 2021

The thwarted takeover of a troubled Italian bank in 2018 will come into focus in a forthcoming Vatican trial that is tied to Pope Francis’s efforts to clean up Holy See finances after decades of scandals.

Weakened by mismanagement and bad loans, Carige bank was placed under special administration by the European Central Bank in early 2019 after a failed attempt led by one of its main shareholders, Raffaele Mincione, to take control.

Vatican prosecutors allege that Mincione bought a stake in Carige with embezzled money including funds raised from faithful Catholics and intended for the needy.

They have indicted him and another nine people including a prominent Cardinal Angelo Becciu over a multi-million-euro scandal that also involves the Vatican’s purchase of a building in one of London’s smartest districts.

The trial is due to begin on July 27. The defendants are all free pending the opening of the case. read more

Mincione, who lives in London, has consistently denied wrongdoing. His Italian lawyer Luigi Giuliano declined to comment, saying “he wants to prepare the defence arguments in the utmost confidentiality” ahead of the trial.

The former Carige shareholder resigned from the lender’s board in September 2018. Two months later, Mincione sold the London property to the Vatican in a deal negotiated by another Italian middleman, Gianluigi Torzi, who also faces trial.

Torzi has denied any wrongdoing, as has Becciu.

Prosecutors believe the Vatican paid over 350 million euros ($410 million) for the building, including debt, which had been acquired by Mincione for 129 million pounds ($177.66 million) just a few years before.

As evidence of alleged criminal intent, prosecutors say Mincione used part of 40 million pounds of Vatican money to repay a loan from Torzi for the failed bid to take control of Carige’s board.

By Giselda Vagnoni, Reuters, 19 July 2021

Read more at Reuters

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