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Indicted ex-director of Vatican’s financial watchdog says truth will come out at trial

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Tommaso Di Ruzza, right, speaks at a Vatican briefing alongside Alessandro Gisotti, center, and René Brülhart, left, May 21, 2019. (Image:Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

Rome, Italy, Jul 6, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

The indicted former director of the Vatican’s internal financial watchdog has said he is confident that the truth will come out at a Vatican trial later this month.

Tommaso Di Ruzza asserted his innocence of charges of embezzlement, abuse of office, and breach of confidentiality in a statement to the press.

“I am serene and confident that the truth of the facts and my innocence will emerge and will be clarified soon by the Vatican judicial authorities,” he said.

Di Ruzza, who began working at the Vatican in 2011, served as director of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) until January 2020. The AIF was renamed the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority (ASIF) in December 2020.

Di Ruzza was one of five employees and officials suspended and blocked from entering the Vatican after Vatican gendarmes raided the Secretariat of State and AIF offices on Oct. 1, 2019.

Roberto Borgogno, Di Ruzza’s lawyer, told journalists that his client had “always acted in the most scrupulous respect for the law and his official duties, in the exclusive interest of the Holy See.”

Di Ruzza, together with nine others, was indicted by the Vatican court, it was announced July 3. A criminal trial will begin at the Vatican on July 27.

Di Ruzza said that with the Vatican trial, “institutional financial intelligence activities are at stake, including cooperation with foreign agencies, requiring adequate procedural safeguards not only to protect the right to defense but also the sovereign interests involved.”

Among those charged is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who has been under investigation for his role in the Secretariat of State’s costly purchase of a London investment property.

Vatican prosecutors accuse Di Ruzza of failing to stop an agreement that “should have been considered suspicious,” and later led to another defendant’s alleged extorsion of the Vatican for thousands of euros.

Former AIF president René Brülhart has also been charged with abuse of office. He said July 3 that he was confident the Vatican’s financial scandal trial would show “the truth about my innocence.”

“I have always carried out my functions and duties with correctness, loyalty and in the exclusive interest of the Holy See and its organs,” he said. “I face this matter with serenity in the conviction that the accusations against me will fully disappear.”

Cecilia Marogna, a self-described security consultant who was hired and paid by Becciu when he worked at the Secretariat of State, has been charged with embezzlement. Her Slovenia-based company is also included in the trial.

Marogna responded to the charges in comments made through her lawyer, Riccardo Sindoca, to an Italian news agency July 4.

Speaking to AdnKronos, Sindoca said that Marogna, “having nothing to hide and conceal,” has no reason to distance herself from Becciu and her affection for him remains unchanged.

Marogna pointed a finger at the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, asking “how it is possible” that he could claim to be ignorant of her work for the Holy See, when, she alleges, she was told by Becciu that Pope Francis had authorized her payments.

Becciu, in a statement July 3, said that he was a victim of plots and media derision, and that the trial would be “the moment for clarification.”

Msgr. Mauro Carlino, who worked in the Secretariat of State and is charged with extortion and abuse of office, issued a statement through his lawyers July 3, asserting his “profound ethical integrity” and the “groundlessness” of the accusations against him.

Enrico Crasso, a long-time Vatican financial manager, Fabrizio Tirabassi, a lay official at the Secretariat of State, lawyer Nicola Squillace, and Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione have yet to make public statements since the announcement of the trial.

The broker Gianluigi Torzi’s communication team did not respond to a request for a statement by press time

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