Vatican Corner 10-11-2020

Cardinal Angelo Becciu was born in 1948 in Sardinia, Italy. After completing his studies in theology and philosophy, he was ordained a priest at the age of 24. When speaking about his seminary days in 2018, he said “I entered the seminary because as a child I dreamed of being a priest. I liked what priests did, how the young priests helped in our parishes. In the seminary, one grows and a moment of crisis arrives. ’Should I continue or not?’ You realize what it means to be a priest. It means giving up your life.” After the seminary training he attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome where he learned practical skills needed of a diplomat, and he earned a doctoral degree in canon law. With his knowledge of 5 languages, he worked at missions in the Central African Republic, Sudan, New Zealand, Liberia, Great Britain, and the United States. He became an archbishop in Rusellae, Italy, and became a Vatican ambassador (Nuncio) to Angelo and later Cuba. He played some crucial rolls in Angola and helped promote relations between Cuba and the Vatican. When he became the Pope’s chief of staff he encouraged the end of the US embargo with Cuba and the reduction of Cuba’s centralized economic system. It was at this time when Becciu was the Pope’s chief of staff when he was reportedly linked to various financial irregularities. He lawfully entrusted the Vatican’s entire treasury to financier Enrico Crasso, a former Credit Suisse manager he had met a few years earlier during an unsuccessful deal involving Angolan oil. Through corporate affiliation, Vatican monies were put in speculative funds which produced long detours and low yields. It has been reported that two non-repayable loan went to a business incorporated as a cooperative operating the charity Carita in Sardinia, whose owner and legal representative is one of Becciu’s brother. Also other non-refundable grants were requested and obtained by Becciu which entered his family loop and are difficult to trace. Another brother who owned a carpentry company obtained funds to refurbish and finish a number of churches in Angola and Cuba. Another brother of Becciu’s owns a company that provides automated beer distribution machines and makes a beer that is only available to religious groups who are directed to purchase those products by Becciu or his inner circle. This unusual financial activity of helping his family is around 20 years old, when there were no control over contracts to third parties, and using family ties was a common practice. It is rumored that under Becciu’s direction the Vatican invested 160 million euros in the London Sloane Avenue Development Project, and which included Peter’s Pence donations collected for social deeds for the poor. This speculative real estate project is currently hemorrhaging the Vatican finances with its high management fees and multiple shell companies. But the Sloan Avenue Project seems to be only the last in a number of investments that the Vatican managed badly, resulting in the losses of hundreds of millions of euros. Or maybe its not all just bad management, but a crime concocted behind Pope Francis’ back. Multiple Vatican sources have reported that Vatican prosecutors and the Italian Guardia de Finanza are expected to charge Becciu and six others with crimes.