Vatican judge charges 10, including cardinal, with alleged financial crimes

Vatican judge charges 10, including cardinal, with alleged financial crimes

VATICAN CITY – A Vatican judge on Saturday ordered 10 people, including an Italian cardinal, to stand trial for suspected financial crimes, including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of power.

Among those charged are Cardinal Angelo Becciu as well as the former heads of the Vatican’s financial intelligence unit and two Italian brokers involved in the Vatican’s purchase of a building in a luxury district of London.

Becciu, whom Pope Francis sacked last year and who has always maintained his innocence during a two-year investigation, has become the highest Vatican Church official to be charged with alleged financial crimes.

In accordance with Church law, the Pope personally approved the judge’s decision to investigate and charge Becciu. The charges against him include embezzlement and abuse of power. An Italian woman who worked for Becciu was also accused of embezzlement.

Italian brokers Gianluigi Torzi and Raffaele Mincione have been charged with embezzlement, fraud and money laundering. Torzi, for whom Italian magistrates issued an arrest warrant in April, has also been charged with extortion. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Download the NBC News app for the latest news and politics

Four companies associated with individual defendants, two in Switzerland, one in the United States and one in Slovenia, were also indicted.

The trial is set to begin July 27 at the Vatican, according to a statement.