Audio was not made public, but in the call, Angelo Becciu, asks the pontiff to confirm that he approved the release of funds to free a Colombian nun held by a group linked to Al-Qaeda
Pope Francis leads a Mass at the Expo Grounds in Nur-Sultan
the cardinal of Italy Angelo Becciu, who is being investigated for fraud, secretly recorded a telephone conversation he had with Pope Francis on July 24, 2021, the Italian press reported this Friday, the 25th. and when the pontiff had just undergone a major colonic operation. The audio has not been made public, but a Vatican court hearing on Thursday revealed its existence. In the phone call with the pope, Cardinal Becciu asks the pontiff to confirm that he has approved the release of funds to free a Colombian nun held by a group linked to Al-Qaeda in Mali. “Did you or did you not give me the authorization to start operations to free the nun?” Bishop Becciu asked. “We had set the ransom at 500,000 euros, no more than that, because we thought it was immoral to give more money to the terrorists. I think I already informed you about all this… Do you remember?”, he continues. According to the transcript, published, among other vehicles, by the Italian newspaper “Il Messaggero”, the pope replies that he remembers “vaguely”. The Argentine pontiff then asks Becciu to ask him the question in writing. The call was recorded in Becciu’s apartment by someone close to her, according to the court.
Becciu, 74, is a former close adviser to the pope but was removed from office and stripped of his privileges as a cardinal in September 2020 in the wake of a scandal over a property deal in London🇧🇷 He claims to be innocent. Several people have gone through the Vatican Criminal Court since July 2021 on charges of fraud, embezzlement, abuse of power, money laundering, corruption and extortion. Among them is Cecilia Marogna, an intermediary hired by Becciu as a security consultant. She is accused of having spent €575,000 from the Vatican on luxury hotels and products. According to prosecutors, the funds given to Marogna – known as “the cardinal’s lady” in the Italian press – should have been used to help free priests and nuns held hostage abroad.
*With information from AFP
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