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CNA Staff, Oct 8, 2020 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Cardinal Angelo Becciu insisted Wednesday on the “absolute falseness” of claims of financial misconduct against him.

In a press statement issued through his lawyer Oct. 7, the embattled former senior Vatican official denied a series of allegations presented in the Italian media following his dramatic resignation of his rights as a cardinal last month.

He rejected the most recent allegation, aired this week, that he had channeled Vatican funds without proper oversight to a 39-year-old woman from his home island of Sardinia. 

“The contacts with Cecilia Marogna strictly pertain to institutional affairs,” the cardinal said in the statement released by Fabio Viglione, who is representing Becciu following the resignation of his previous lawyer, Ivano Iai. 

The statement also denied that Becciu had sought to interfere in the trial of Cardinal George Pell on historical sexual abuse charges in Australia. 

Italian media reported last week claims that Becciu transferred several hundred thousand euros from Vatican accounts to an account in Australia during Pell’s trial. The two men are known to have clashed over Vatican finances when Becciu was the number two-ranking official in the Secretariat of State and Pell was prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

Becciu, until recently the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, also denied several other specific allegations, insisting that he was not involved in any illegal activities.

“His Eminence Cardinal Becciu reiterates the absolute falseness of any allegations that circulated in the press, and confirms his lack of involvement in any illicit matters whatsoever,” the statement said. 

“He awaits with serenity the results of every assessment, in any forum, which will finally confirm his fidelity to the Holy Father and the Church.”

The Vatican announced Becciu’s resignation as prefect and from the “related rights of the Cardinalate” in a terse statement on the evening of Sept. 24. 

At a press conference the morning after, Becciu said that he had resigned following an audience with Pope Francis, who told him that he no longer trusted him because he had seen reports from Vatican magistrates implicating the Italian cardinal in embezzlement. Becciu denied that he had committed any crimes and said that he was ready to explain himself if called on by the Vatican’s judicial authorities.

The new statement maintained that neither the cardinal nor his brothers held stocks or bonds, or stakes in hedge funds or foreign bank accounts.

It said that “no money transfer has ever been made by any means from the Secretariat of State into the personal and private belongings of his family.”

The statement added that the Holy See had never invested money in the Angel’s company, owned by one of the cardinal’s brothers, “linked to either the production or the selling of the beer.”

It also denied that the cardinal or his brothers had invested any income from their own family businesses into hedge funds.

“Never has the cardinal made investments on behalf of the Holy See in Antonio Mosquito’s business activities,” the statement said, referring to an Angolan businessman known to Becciu, who served as apostolic nuncio to the African nation from 2001 to 2009.

It also rejected suggestions that the cardinal had requested a 150 million euro loan from the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the “Vatican bank.”

The statement concluded: “The cardinal trusts in the necessary balance between freedom of the press and the right to proper information that is respectful to every person, reserving the right to make recourse to the judicial authorities in any case deemed necessary to preserve his honor and his reputation, as well as his family’s.”