Rome – Cardinal George Pell, a former Vatican finance czar who left in his native Australia in 2017 to face allegations of child sexual abuse, in Rome on 30 September to find a man associated with the Vatican in a corruption scandal Returned back
79-year-old Pell arrived in Rome at Leonardo da Vinci Airport wearing a blue surgical mask from Sydney. He spoke to reporters before leaving in a waiting car without comment.
The visit is his first return to Rome after Pope Francis took a leave of absence as finance caesar in 2017 after facing allegations of historical sexual abuse stemming from his time as Archbishop of Melbourne in 2017. Pell, who maintained his innocence, said he wanted to clean up his Vatican apartment after being absent by the High Court of Australia but wanted to make Sydney his home.
Pell arrived on the same day that European money-laundering appraisers began a periodic visit to the Vatican. He has come to know of a growing financial scandal in the small city-state that has already cost half a dozen people their jobs, including one of the most powerful cardinals of the Holy See, Cardinal Angelo Bescue.
Pell and Besiku clashed for a long time due to Australian efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Vatican’s balance sheet.
The Moneywall Council of Europe will examine the Vatican’s compliance with international norms to fight council money laundering and terror financing.
The Vatican’s evaluation process was presented by the Vatican after the signing of the 2009 European Union monetary agreement and shed its image as a financially shady offshore tax haven, whose bank has long been embroiled in a scandal.
Maniwal has generally given a positive look to the sacred scene to mixed reviews in its periodical ratings. Its main criticism in recent years has been against the Vatican’s Criminal Tribunal, in which it is flawed for failing to prosecute in many cases despite receiving dozens of suspicious transaction reports from the Vatican’s financial surveillance.
Vatican prosecutors investigated corruption in the Holy See’s investment in a London real estate venture last year, but to date no one has been convicted.
The Vatican’s state secretariat has sunk more than 350 million euros (about $ 400 million) into the London venture, most of it taking donations from the faithful. Millions of dollars in fees were paid to Italian merchants, who acted as middlemen in the real estate deal.
Last week, Pope Francis fired Biscio, a cardinal who helped orchestrate the original deal. Besiku was “substitute” or No. 2 in the state’s Vatican Secretariat from 2011 to 2018, when Francis made him a cardinal and named him prefect of the Vatican’s saint-building office.
Bisecu says Francis cites him an unrelated issue in the firing: alleging that he used 100,000 euros ($ 117,000) in Holy See to donate to a charity controlled by his brother.
Bisiku and his family have denied wrongdoing.
Pell’s ruthless style and aggressive clean-up efforts within the Vatican old guard, Bischio in particular, put many wings. The Australian congratulated Francis after Besiku’s dismissal.
“I hope the cleanup of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria,” Pell said in a statement last week, referring to his home state of Victoria, where he was initially convicted and the High Court of Australia called him He served time in jail before absconding.
AP’s visual journalist Luigi Navarro contributed.