2nd Vatican official says pope OK’d ransom funds for nun Lalrp



VATICAN CITY — A second high-ranking Holy See official advised a Vatican court docket on Friday that Pope Francis had approved spending lots of of hundreds of euros in ransom funds to attempt to free a nun who was kidnapped by al-Qaida-linked militants in Mali.

Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, the Holy See’s No. 3, advised the Vatican tribunal that he had sought, and acquired Francis’ approval to wire the cash quickly after he took up his duties because the “substitute” within the secretariat of state in late 2018.

Pena Parra was answering questions for a second day Friday after being referred to as by protection attorneys representing the ten folks on trial for a bunch of alleged monetary crimes.

One tangent of the Vatican trial considerations 575,000 euros wired from the Vatican’s Swiss Checking account to a Slovenian-based entrance firm owned by Cecilia Marogna, a self-styled safety analyst who was employed in 2016 by Pena Parra’s predecessor, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, as an out of doors advisor.

Becciu told the court last year that he had sought Marogna’s recommendation in 2017 following the kidnapping of Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez by al-Qaida within the Islamic Maghreb, which has bankrolled its insurgency by kidnapping Westerners. Throughout her captivity in Mali, the group periodically confirmed Narvaez on video asking for the Vatican’s assist.

Becciu advised the court docket that Francis had approved spending as much as 1 million euros to free the Colombian nun. Becciu mentioned he and Marogna had travelled to London to fulfill with, and subsequently rent, the British safety agency Inkerman to seek out Narvaez and safe her freedom. She was in the end launched in October 2021.

Of their indictment request, prosecutors alleged a double fee: They mentioned some 500,000 British kilos, or the then-equivalent of 575,000 euros, had been despatched to Inkerman’s Barklays Checking account for the operation. Individually, they listed 9 funds from the Vatican’s Swiss Checking account totaling 575,000 euros despatched to Marogna’s Logsic DOO firm from Dec. 20, 2018 to July 8, 2019. Citing Slovenian financial institution data, prosecutors allege that Marogna used the cash to purchase high-end luxurious gadgets and go on trip.

Each Becciu and Marogna are accused of embezzlement, prices they each deny.

Pena Parra, who changed Becciu as “substitute,” advised the court docket that he was confronted with the request for fee to the Slovenian account by his deputy, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, who had been requested by Becciu to course of the wire switch. However Pena Parra mentioned he couldn’t proceed with out first securing the pope’s approval.

“I went to the pope. I requested for an viewers and the Holy Father confirmed to me the vacation spot of this cash, which was for the query of the potential freedom of the Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali,” Pena Parra mentioned beneath questioning by the tribunal president, Decide Giuseppe Pignatone.

Becciu, for his half, insisted in a spontaneous declaration to the court docket on Friday that Francis had authorized the operation and was ready to write down an announcement for Becciu’s protection to that impact after they spoke by phone on July 19, 2021, days earlier than the trial opened.

Prosecutors just lately produced an change of letters between Becciu and Francis within the following days during which Francis refused to supply the assertion. Becciu produced a letter Friday indicating Francis himself had requested Becciu to supply a draft assertion, and the cardinal steered that his subsequent refusal to log off on it appeared to have been coached.