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Italian police arrest woman in Vatican financial scandal

Italian police arrest woman in Vatican financial scandal

A woman who has said she was given hundreds of thousands of euros by a powerful Vatican cardinal to conduct secret intelligence missions for the Holy See in Africa has been arrested by Italy’s financial police.

Cecilia Marogna, 39, was arrested on Tuesday evening in Milan after an international warrant was issued against her by Vatican protectors, according to multiple reports in the Italian press.

The arrest is believed to be the first time the Vatican has ever issued an international arrest warrant through Interpol, and is part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the past financial dealings of officials working inside the Secretariat of State, the Holy See’s central administration office.

Earlier this month Ms Marogna responded to reports that Vatican money had been transferred to a company she controlled in Slovenia by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu. She told the Italian newspaper Domani that she was employed to establish “a network of high-level diplomatic relations for the Holy See” in Africa.

Details of the payments made to Ms Marogna emerged after Cardinal Becciu, one of the most powerful men in the Vatican who controlled the Secretariat’s finances from 2011 to 2018, was asked to resign by Pope Francis because of allegations against him that the cardinal described as “embezzlement”.

Cecilia Marogna © ROPI

Earlier this year a businessman was charged by the Vatican with various offences including embezzlement in connection with his role in helping a group of Secretariat officials acquire outright a London luxury property development in which Cardinal Becciu had overseen the acquisition of a minority stake in 2014.

Holy See police have conducted several raids on offices and residences inside the Vatican, and several members of staff have been suspended as the investigation continues.

Cardinal Becciu has denied any wrongdoing, has not been charged with any

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Italian woman in Vatican financial scandal investigation arrested

Italian woman in Vatican financial scandal investigation arrested

ROME (Reuters) – A 39-year-old Italian woman was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the Vatican’s latest financial scandal, police said.



Giovanni Angelo Becciu wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu speaks to the media in Rome


© Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE
FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu speaks to the media in Rome

Cecilia Marogna had worked for Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a top Vatican official who was fired by Pope Francis last month and accused of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all

wrongdoing.

An Italian finance police official told Reuters Marogna was arrested in Milan. Italian media reports said she was arrested under an international warrant issued by Vatican magistrates.

In recent days, Italian media have run interviews in which Marogna said she had received 500,000 euros ($587,350) from Becciu to run a “parallel diplomacy” to help missionaries in conflict zones. She has denied wrongdoing in the interviews.

Her purported work for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, where Becciu held the number two position until 2018, was not previously known.

Becciu’s lawyer Fabio Viglione, has said the cardinal knew Marogna but that his dealings with her had been “exclusively about institutional matters”.

Marogna, who like Becciu is from Sardinia, has said that the funds she allegedly received from Becciu went through a company she started in Slovenia.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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