Pope Francis secretly recorded a phone conversation he overheard at the trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu

Pope Francis was secretly recorded during a phone conversation with one of his former top cardinals, discussing the Holy See’s payments to release a nun being held hostage by al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in North Africa.

In a shocking legal action, the taped phone conversation between Pope Francis and Cardinal Angelo Becciu – one of 10 accused in an ongoing embezzlement trial – was played in Vatican court.

In the call, Becciu can be heard asking the pope to confirm he has authorized payments to release the nun who was kidnapped in 2017. She was eventually released last year and met with the Pope.

Journalists were ordered to leave the courtroom before the tape was played because the recording had not yet been officially admitted into evidence, but a transcript from Italy’s financial police was released by Italy’s Adnkronos news agency, CNN reported.

The recording was made on July 24, 2021 – just three days before Becciu was due to go on trial on alleged embezzlement and abuse of office – and 10 days after Pope Francis was released from hospital in Rome for colon surgery, according to the Outlet.

Beccui is heard asking the pope to confirm that he has approved payments to self-proclaimed national security adviser Cecilia Marogna, also named as a defendant in the trial. Marogna was then supposed to pay the British company Inkerman Group to free the nun.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu was forced to resign as Secretary of State of the Holy See in September.
AFP via Getty Images

Beccui said the payments totaled $363,706 to the Inkerman Group and $519,518 as a ransom for the nun.

The pope told the cardinal he vaguely remembered the payments but asked him to put his confirmation request in writing.

According to CNN, there is no Vatican law obliging the pope to testify in court.

Becciu, the former Secretary of State of the Holy See, was forced to resign on September 24. He is suspected of funneling Vatican funds to businesses and charities run by his three brothers.

He is also said to have overseen a multi-million dollar investment in luxury real estate in London, which is at the heart of the process. Prosecutors accuse the defendants of defrauding the Holy See and then extorting €15 million from the Vatican to gain control of the property. The Vatican lost 100 million euros through the real estate transaction alone.

Becciu has claimed that all of his financial transactions have been stamped for approval by his superiors. He, Marogna and all the other defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have accused Italian brokers and other Vatican officials of a range of financial crimes, including fraud, embezzlement, corruption and abuse of office

In the London case, they accuse the defendants of defrauding the Holy See and then extorting 15 million euros from the Vatican in order to gain control of the property.

With post wires

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