The Vatican has arrested the businesswoman Cecilia Marogna, accused of embezzling a diplomatic mission ordered by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, dismissed by Pope Francis for his management of the Secretary of State in an unusual and harsh punishment.
The arrest occurred last night in the Italian city of Milan (north) after the Holy See issued an international arrest warrant, according to local media. The 39-year-old woman was intervened by the Finance Guard (Italian tax crime police) and will be extradited to the Vatican City State to be at their disposal.
The authorities of the Holy See should question her to know if he received from the former powerful Cardinal Becciu the sum of 500,000 euros of funds when he was a substitute for the Secretary of State (2011-2018), number three in the Vatican hierarchy. The supposed objective of this investment would be the creation of a parallel diplomatic network, although ended up spending it on luxury items such as bags, shoes, accessories and an armchair for 12,000 euros.
His arrest is part of the investigation of the cardinal, forced by Pope Francis to resign from office prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints and the rights of the cardinal on September 24 for alleged irregularities in the management of funds of the Holy See.
Fraudulent diplomatic network
The woman, a native of Sardinia, like Becciu, came into contact with the cardinal in 2015 presenting herself as an expert in diplomacy and international relations. So offered to create a “parallel diplomatic network in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East”, as she has told “Il Corriere della Sera”, to protect the nunciatures and diplomatic headquarters of the Holy See in those areas from terrorists.
On whether she spent that money on luxury items such as clothing, jewelry, or cosmetics, she claimed: “Maybe the bag it was for a friend’s wife Nigerian who was able to speak with the president of Burkina Faso to monitor the risks and dangers of the Vatican nunciatures. “
Other Becciu scandals
The case of the “lady of the cardinal”, as she is known, is a new episode in the scandal that has plagued Becciu, on which the irregular purchase of a building in London is investigated which ended up generating a hole of 400 million euros in the Vatican accounts.
Becciu explained that the pope withdrew him because the magistrates accused him of embezzlement, but he although confirming that you sent the funds to CaritasHe explained that he saw nothing wrong with it. Too he is credited with a transfer of 700,000 euros to a bank account in Australia, money that could be used during the sexual abuse trial faced by Australian Cardinal George Pell, with whom he maintains strong differences.
The Italian media speculate that this money could have been used to pay witnesses against Pell, former Minister of Economy of the Vatican and who was finally acquitted. On October 8, Becciu broke his silence and, through his lawyer, denied having carried out “any illegal activity” and expressed his desire to soon show his loyalty to the pontiff.