Key Vatican cardinal Angelo Becciu resigns after being caught up in real estate scandal – ABC News
A powerful Vatican cardinal has suddenly resigned amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.
The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal.
A one-line statement, issued unusually in the evening, said Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Becciu, head of the department that decides who will be the saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the statement, Cardinal Becciu was identified as “His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu”, making clear he remained a cardinal in name.
The statement did not provide a reason behind Cardinal Becciu’s resignation.
The severity of the situation is illustrated by the fact that, at 72 years old, Cardinal Becciu would have been able to participate in a possible future conclave to elect Pope Francis’s successor.
In renouncing his rights as a cardinal, Cardinal Becciu has relinquished that position.
The last cardinal to give up that right was Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland, who resigned over a sex scandal in 2013.
Vatican embroiled in luxury London investment property scandal
Cardinal Becciu was until 2018 deputy secretary of state, one of the most powerful positions in the Vatican.
During his tenure in that office the Vatican became embroiled in a controversial deal in which the Secretariat of State used church money to purchase a luxury building in London as an investment.
The Vatican prosecutor placed several Vatican officials under investigation, as well as the middlemen, but not Cardinal Becciu.
That investigation led to the suspension last year of five Vatican employees, the resignation of the Vatican’s police chief and the departure of the former head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority.
Cardinal Becciu has denied all wrongdoing in the London property deal and defended the purchase.
In June, Vatican police arrested Gianluigi Torzi, an Italian middleman who was part of a controversial deal, and charged him with extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money laundering.
He was later released but the investigation is continuing. Vatican sources said they expected Vatican magistrates to hand down indictments soon.
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