Magistrate postpones procedural decision to February 18.
On December 14, 2021, after a short hearing, Judge Giuseppe Pignatone expressed the hope that the January 25 hearing — the sixth since the trial began in July — would put an end to the procedural phase in which the London building trial seems to be mired. This wish was not granted: after 42 minutes, the magistrate was once again forced to postpone the outcome to a next session scheduled for February 18, at 9:30 a.m.
The historic trial, which has come to be known for the luxury London building at the center of the accusations, involves 10 people—including Cardinal Angelo Becciu—charged with serious financial crimes. Proceedings began last July and have continued sporadically since.
Some progress was made, however, especially regarding the four defendants “exfiltrated” from the proceedings since the hearing of November 17. The promoter of justice Alessandro Diddi in fact filed, just before the beginning of the hearing, the requests for the summons of Raffaele Mincione, Nicola Squillace, Fabrizio Tirabassi and Monsignor Mauro Carlino. It should be noted that the latter did not appear for the interrogations scheduled by the promoter.
Taken by surprise, Judge Pignatone was forced to start the hearing more than two hours late, and will have to rule on their reinstatement in the trial in February. Among the seven new “dossiers” filed by Alessandro Diddi, there were also elements concerning one of the charges against Cardinal Angelo Becciu that had been temporarily dropped in November, that of subornation of a witness. This charge was therefore reinstated, unlike that of embezzlement, which concerned Tommaso Di Ruzza, former president of the Vatican’s anti-money laundering authority, the ASIF (Financial Information and Surveillance Authority).
The main part of the hearing concerned final appeals and requests for annulment by the defense lawyers. The judge gave the promoter until January 31 to evaluate the missing elements.
The only other notable fact during the hearing was the absence, for the first time, of Cardinal Becciu (The cardinal was the only accused to have attended all the hearings up to that point). Lawyers explained the absence saying that the cardinal did not wish to attend a specific request for annulment that his representatives then presented to the judge.
The defense of the high-ranking prelate criticizes a question put to the key witness in the case, Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, about possible “intimate relations” between Cardinal Becciu and Cecilia Marogna — the respondent replied that he knew nothing about it. According to the lawyer of the former prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the question is a moral one and therefore in contradiction with an article of the Vatican’s code of procedure, which stipulates that a person cannot be questioned about moral issues in a judicial procedure.