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Sacked cardinal 'used Vatican funds to pay €500,000 to woman'


Cardinal Becciu was sacked by Pope Francis last month

Cardinal Becciu was sacked by Pope Francis last month

Cardinal Becciu was sacked by Pope Francis last month

A cardinal sacked by the Pope for alleged embezzlement has been accused of funnelling €500,000 to an Italian woman who spent some of the cash on luxury shoes, handbags and accessories.

Giovanni Angelo Becciu, stripped of his rights as a cardinal last month, allegedly paid the money from Vatican funds to Cecilia Marogna, who claims to be an intelligence operative with links to the Italian secret services.

She reportedly spent it on shoes, clothes and luxury items, said newspaper Corriere della Sera, basing its report on leaked Vatican documents.

Ms Marogna admitted receiving the €500,000 in Vatican funds through a company she runs that is based in Slovenia. But she said she had spent it on "diplomatic trips, paying sources for information, mediation and donations to humanitarian organisations".

It was the latest tangled web of claims and counterclaims to involve Cardinal Becciu (72), who is being investigated for his role in the purchase of a £400m (€438m) property in London.

The cardinal has denied any wrongdoing in the London deal.

He also denied wrongdoing in relation to the latest claims, telling Corriere della Sera, "They've told me not to say anything", an apparent reference to his lawyers.

He is under investigation by Vatican prosecutors for alleged embezzlement.

Ms Marogna (39) conceded that she may have once used some of the money to buy a handbag.

"It was for the wife of a Nigerian friend who was able to put me in touch with the president of Burkina Faso," she said. She strenuously denied reports that she was the cardinal's lover, calling them "absurd".

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She said she was a "political analyst and intelligence expert" with high-level contacts in the Italian secret services and had first met the cardinal in 2015.

He asked her to advise on security at the Vatican's embassies in North Africa and the Middle East, she said. She had been paid the €500,000 over four years.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

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