The Tribunal of Vatican City State has found Cardinal Angelo Becciu guilty of embezzlement and abuse of office.
In a case widely dubbed the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” Becciu — along with nine other individuals and four companies — was brought to court in July 2021 under a variety of charges related to financial misconduct while serving in the Secretariat of State.
After 86 hearings spanning more than two years and incorporating 76 witnesses, Judge Giuseppe Pignatone delivered the verdicts for all defendants on Saturday.
Becciu was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, with an additional €8,000 fine. He is also permanently banned from holding office.
Five other defendants also received prison sentences: Enrico Crasso, seven years; Cecilia Marogna, three years; Raffaele Mincione, five years; Fabrizio Tirabassi, seven years; and Gianluigi Torzi, six years.
Defendants René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza were fined, while defendant Nicola Squillace received a suspended sentence.
Former Secretariat of State official Msgr. Mauro Carlino was acquitted of all charges.
Logsic Humitarne Dejavnosti was the only company found guilty and was sanctioned for $44,000.
Central to the case was a botched real estate deal in London in which the Secretariat of State acquired a piece of land in the Chelsea neighborhood and was eventually forced to sell it at a $150 million loss.
Becciu was found guilty of further, unrelated misconduct including embezzlement through a Sardinian Catholic charity run by his brother and misuse of funds allotted to ransom a kidnapped nun.
The court ordered confiscations of more than $181 million related to the scandal and sentenced all defendants to pay — jointly and severally — approximately $218 million to civil parties.
The trial was carried out in the Tribunal of Vatican City State, the highest civil court of Vatican City.
Becciu was the first cardinal to ever be put to trial under the Vatican’s civil court system — and now the first to ever be convicted.
Becciu’s attorney has maintained the cardinal’s innocence and, following the verdict, announced his intention to seek an appeal.
Vatican City does not maintain a prison system, so guilty parties will serve their sentence under Italian authorities.