ROME — A Vatican judge on Saturday indicted 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, on charges including embezzlement, abuse of office, extortion and fraud in connection with the Secretariat of State’s 350 million-euro investment in a London real estate venture.
The president of the Vatican’s criminal tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, set July 27 as the trial date, but lawyers for the defendants immediately questioned how they could prepare for trial so soon given they hadn’t yet formally received the indictment or any of the documentation in the case.
Five former Vatican officials, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu and two officials from the Secretariat of State, were indicted, as well as Italian businessmen who handled the London investment.
Also indicted on alleged embezzlement charges was an Italian intelligence expert accused of buying luxury goods with Holy See money intended to help free Catholic priests and nuns held hostage by rebels in Africa.
Vatican prosecutors accuse the main suspects of bilking millions of euros from the Holy See in fees and other…