Ousted Cardinal Becciu Says Pope Authorized Secret Operation to Free Nun Kidnapped by Al Qaeda

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The dismissed cardinal angelo becciu affirmed this Thursday that the Pope authorized an operation to free a colombian nun kidnapped by Al Qaeda in Mali during his statement in the process that judges him for embezzlement and extortion. The payment authorized by the Pontiff to pay for the operation would amount to about one million euros.

According to Becciu’s statement, Francisco would have approved the secret operation that included the hiring of a British security company to find the nun and guarantee her release. the missionary Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was kidnapped in Mali in February 2017 by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. She spent four years and eight months captured by the jihadists and was finally released in October 2021. During that period, the terrorist group periodically showed Narvaez on video asking for the Vatican’s help.

Becciu’s statements were framed in the hiring of Cecilia Marogna which, according to investigations, received up to €500,000 of the funds of the Secretary of State managed by Becciu between 2011 and 2018, when he was the substitute and enjoyed autonomy to decide on investments. Francisco had allowed Becciu to break the pontifical secret to defend himself in court.

Marogna, owner of a company with fiscal headquarters in Slovenia that deals with humanitarian missions in Africa and Asia and also charged with embezzlement by the Vatican, has defended before the Italian press that with the money received thanks to Becciu’s intervention he orchestrated the installation of a network of diplomacy parallel to the one deployed by the Holy See with nunciatures all over the world in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

Cecilia Marogna who received up to 500,000 euros from the funds of the Secretary of State managed by Becciu between 2011 and 2018

The ‘lady of the cardinal’, as the Italian newspapers have baptized her, has defended herself against the accusations by assuring that she worked as a mediator, especially in cases of kidnapped religious. However, the investigations have revealed that the funds of the Secretary of State, to which Becciu had unlimited access and which he used without answering to anyone, were used by the woman to buy bags, shoes and even a leather sofa. , in addition to other luxury items.

Becciu has assured that he turned to Marogna as soon as he learned of the kidnapping of Narváez, in Mali and after hearing the Vatican nuncio in Colombia and other sisters of the nun’s religious order asking for help. According to the version of the dismissed cardinal, Francis authorized the hiring of the British intelligence company The Inkerman Group to ensure the release of the nun and the Pope himself would have prohibited him from telling the operation, excluding the Vatican police chief from his knowledge.

According to his statement, he and Marogna met with employees of the Inkerman company at their office in London in the middle of January 2018 and they would not have guaranteed the success of the operation. According to Becciu, because the Vatican wanted to stay out of the operation, Marogna became the key intermediary and the one who received the periodic payments from the Vatican secretariat of state for the operation.

The Italian cardinal has assured that he informed Francis of the meeting in London on January 15, 2018

The Italian cardinal has assured that he informed Francis of the meeting in London on January 15, 2018. “He listened to me and confirmed that I proceeded,” Becciu pointed out. “In a subsequent meeting with the Holy Father, I explained the conversation in more detail. that we had with the Inkermans and of the sum that we had to pay roughly: around one million euros, one part to pay for the creation of a network of contacts and another for the effective liberation of the nun“.

“I told him that we should not go beyond that figure. He approved it. I must say that every step of this operation was agreed with the Holy Father,” Becciu said.

In a 50-page spontaneous statement, which he read at Thursday’s hearing, in which he was also questioned by the Vatican prosecutor, Alessandro DidiBecciu has defended his position and has denied having embezzled funds from the Vatican. He has also explained before the judge technical questions about how the financial aspects of the purchases and investments of the Secretary of State work.

He has also defended himself against accusations that blame him for having woven a corruption network to pilot Vatican investments into speculative funds based in tax havens. The Vatican prosecutor’s office indicates in the investigations that he transferred up to 125,000 euros from it Peter’s Pence, which collects donations from the faithful to the Pope’s charitable works and over which he had direct authority as a substitute for the Secretary of State, to the Spes cooperative, whose legal representative is his brother, Tonino Becciu. This sum would be linked, according to Becciu’s version, to renovation works at the headquarters of Cáritas Ozieri (province of Sácer, in Sardinia).

Becciu has pointed out that 25,000 euros were used in 2015 to “buy the necessary machinery to help resume activities” of a bakery for vulnerable people

In fact, he has pointed out that 25,000 euros were used in 2015 to “buy the necessary machinery to help resume activities” of a bakery designed, according to his version, to help vulnerable people because it had suffered a fire. He has also stated that of the total amount of 125,000 euros that he transferred to Caritas de Ozieri from the Secretary of State, there are still 100,000 euros still in the account of the Bishop of Sardinia.

“I would like to point out that everything related to the Diocese of Ozieri, its resources, its organization, as well as the local Caritas or the Spes Cooperative, is beyond my prior knowledge.”

“Where would the money have come from to enrich my family? It is an unfounded accusation,” said the dismissed cardinal. In this way, he has reiterated “the absolute correctness” of his brother’s conduct and has reiterated that the only amounts that were donated by the Secretary of State over the seven years, in 2015 and 2018, when he was a substitute of the Secretary of State “were to charitable purposes“.

On the other hand, he has denied that the Pence funds have been used, which come from the donations of the faithful for the Pope’s charitable works, and has underlined that all the operations were carried out with the reserve funds of the Secretary of State .

The next hearing will take place on May 18.

“Obolo’s collection each year reached an average of 45/50 million euros,” he assured. He also pointed out that each month five million euros should be transferred from these funds to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), which is responsible for accounting and managing real estate and investments, to meet the needs of the Roman Curia. In total, 60 million euros a year, which he specified that came to 96 million a year when the Cardinal George Pell He was in charge of the economic organization.

Likewise, he assured that the Secretary of State covered “part of the expenses of Vatican Radio, which amounted to some 33 million euros a year, as well as the expenses of the diplomatic representations of the Holy See, with a budget of some 30 million a year.” The next hearing will take place on May 18.

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