Tomorrow 6 October the decision of the President of the Court Giuseppe Pignatone.
The maxi-trial in the Vatican for the scandal on financial crimes – which since 2019 has hit the Vatican like a perfect storm and blew many heads – risks being canceled. The procedure that sees ten defendants, including the cardinal Angelo Becciu, in the second hearing (the first on July 27) took a truly singular turn: the promoter of justice – the prosecutor – asks for the return of all the documents, which would involve starting from scratch even with interrogations. In short, the zeroing of the process. The President of the Tribunal Giuseppe Pignatone, former chief prosecutor of Rome, will decide tomorrow morning whether to go ahead or bring everything back to the start.
Defenses ask for video interrogation of Msgr. Perlasca
The position of the defendants’ defenses is different, asking instead that the promoter make available a key interrogation, undoubtedly considered the queen test, to Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, head of the Administrative Office of the Secretariat of State until 2019, who was not seen from any of them. At the moment there is only a report in the proceedings, in which many parts of the testimony and all the questions are missing. If we were to start from scratch, the interpretation is that perhaps the interrogation would be lost and at the moment Perlasca is no longer accused, but he is a person informed of the facts (in Italy this position is much worse than being under trial, because in total absence of guarantees, but beyond the Tiber there is another penal code).
Trial born of a financial hole on the Sloane Avenue building
The process originating from the purchase by the Holy See of the Sloane Avenue building in London in 2014 – an operation costing the Pope 350 million, of which at least 100 million considered lost, still in the Vatican properties – thus risks coming to a halt even before begin. In his speech at the beginning of the hearing – which lasted a total of two hours and 10 minutes, among the ten defendants only Card. Angelo Becciu and Msgr. Mauro Carlino – Deputy Pg Diddi (the owner Gian Piero Milano was absent) admitted that «it is a duty to meet the defensive needs on the correct interrogation of the accused in front of this office. We interpret the rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure not as a way of harnessing the prerogatives of the defense, but rather as a moment of protection of these rights, and we want to give testimony that we do not want to trample them. And the possibility, now, of carrying out an interrogation knowing the documents of the investigations is an aspect that must not be denied to the accused ».
The accusation: «Violent attacks. Sentence is not already written “
The adjunct justice promoter, referring to recent newspaper articles, said that “very violent attacks have been directed at this office and this Tribunal. According to some, there is a sentence already written. We also express our discomfort towards the Court: these are forcing to condition the impartiality of the Court ». The prosecutor also recalled that “there are those who even speak of false evidence. We didn’t understand what they would be. The process is growing with a mount of controversy outside the lines – he continued -. Tell us what these false evidence would be: eventually we would like to investigate this too. Thinking that there is false evidence in this process is something we cannot afford ». President Pignatone also had his say on these aspects, underlining that «everything that is mentioned on a journalistic level is totally irrelevant to us. Only what is in the records of the trial counts, especially when we manage to have them in their entirety. On the part of the Court there is the utmost serenity ».
Holy See in agreement in deferring the documents to the prosecution
The civil parties – Secretariat of State, APSA and IOR – joined the request for referral to the prosecution of the proceedings, deferring in any case to the decision of the Court. Instead, it was defined as “inadmissible” by the defense of the defendants, who insisted in various capacities on their requests for the nullity of the summons (another way of ‘clearing’ the proceedings), contesting both the failure to interrogate the accused, both the ‘denial of justice’ due to the inability of the defense to exercise their rights, and, above all, the failure to file the documents, in particular the audio and video recordings of the interrogation of the key witness Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, still missing and unavailable to the defense, despite the order on their deposit issued by the Court in the previous hearing on July 27 last. The lawyer Luigi Panella, defender of Enrico Crasso, contested the reasons of “confidentiality” regarding the failure to file Perlasca’s video interrogation: “The recordings had to be deposited in the Court Chancellery, not delivered to Tg1 or to the newspapers” “.