Vatican process, gendarmes interrogated. Perlasca will testify on November 23
At the thirty-first hearing of the court process on the management of the funds of the Holy See, five witnesses were heard. Among them the Gendarmerie inspector who explained the procedures during the investigation, and Bishop Pennacchio for a few minutes
Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican News
Three gendarmes, a judicial police advisor and a bishop (whose stay on the bench lasted exactly two minutes) were questioned on the morning of Wednesday, October 19, at the thirty-first hearing in the process for the management of the Holy See. funds. The questioning of witnesses called by the Prosecutor’s Office continues; to the list – which was announced in passing by the president of the Vatican Court, Giuseppe Pignatone – was added for November 23, and also for the 24th and 25th, the former head of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, who is considered a “key witness”.
At the center of Wednesday’s session, which lasted about 7 hours, were the procedures used by the Vatican Gendarmerie for investigations: bank inquiries, analyzed data on seized devices (mobile phones, iPads, computers), encrypted messaging apps, images captured by security cameras. Among them were photos of manager Cecilia Marogna transferring money paid by the Secretary of State for a “humanitarian operation” to personal checking accounts, instead of using it to buy luxury personal goods.
Question to Archbishop Pennacchio
The first to submit to questions from the prosecution, defense and civil parties was Inspector Luca De Leo, the longest of the four examinations, interrupted by the very quick testimony of Don Rocco Pennacchio. The archbishop, the current pastor of Ferma, who came by car from the Italian Marche region on Wednesday morning as a witness for the prosecution, was the treasurer of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. Cardinal Becciu would invite him to “defend” the funding of the diocese of Ozieri, especially the Spes cooperative led by his brother Antonino. Pennacchio asked to testify at a specific time due to other commitments. In court, prosecutor Alessandro Diddi asked him if he confirmed the September 27, 2021 interrogation conducted during the bifurcated phase of the trial, which remained secret. “That”. “Okay, I have no more questions.” There was no question of defense either, so the archbishop was sent off two minutes later.
The inspector questioned
Apart from the break, from 9:40 am to around 1 pm, Luca De Leo, IT technician at the Center for Security of the Gendarmerie, explained the activities carried out: “Everything related to data, always at the request of the Promoter”. Therefore, eavesdropping, interrogation, extraction and retrieval of computers, smartphones and email accounts, searches. Including those from October 1, 2019 at the Secretary of State or in Perlasca’s room at Casa Santa Marta.
Devices are excluded and analyzed
In total, the gendarme explained, 243 devices were acquired, analyzed and registered. Of the 210 copies made, 37 devices were used by the prosecutor for the investigation, including 9 mobile phones and 17 computers. The information that at the beginning of the trial once again started a controversy among the defenders that they only received “partial” material. The controversy was suppressed by Pignatone, who recalled the order of March 1, 2022, in which “the Court said that the plaintiff had the right, according to the Code, to choose the material he wanted. You filed an appeal, you disagree, but yes, we cannot each way to reopen this debate.”
Searches and applications
Speaking of the “great job” done, De Leo explained in detail and technically how he conducted his research: from extracting and downloading, to searching for keywords and timestamps. In some cases, the gendarmes also found deleted data. For example, on Tirabassi’s smartphone, which was using a “highly secure” app, confidence, which allows you to read messages with just a swipe of your finger: “Then the message self-destructs.” Mincione and Torzi also used it: “There was no way to retrieve those conversations.”
Projected on the wall is a letter dated April 17, 2019, in which the Secretary of State guarantees broker Torza 3% of the value of a property in London. De Leo explained that the document was prepared in November 2018 and then printed in April 2019 with significant changes. According to the prosecution, which was also confirmed by a witness, the letter – called the “3% document” – existed only virtually: “Never a physical copy”. Or, at any rate, it was never found during various searches. Like those made in the houses of Tirabasi, from which – said the gendarme – “37 boxes” were taken.
Cecilia Marogna’s bank transfers
Another witness, gendarme Luca Bassetti, from the judicial police department, explained the investigation into the case of the governor of Sardinia, Cecilia Marogna. Bassetti clarified that nine transfers were made “to fill the account” of Logsic, a company in Slovenia whose sole owner is Marogna, and the British intelligence company Inkermann, the beneficiary of two transfers of 500 thousand euros each, which were supposed to manage the mission to free the nun in the Republic of Mali .
“Voluntary contribution for humanitarian missions. Voluntary contribution for humanitarian operations” was the reason for each transfer, as found in the WhatsApp chats between Perlasco and Becciu, where the cardinal also stated the amounts and the iban. From those conversations, the gendarme conveyed a message in which the cardinal, who is no longer a substitute in the State Secretariat in 2018, asks Perlasco that he immediately needs 14,150 euros “to start the famous operation”. “Personally,” he would report other details.
Bassetti also reported an alert from AIF (now ASIF) about a “suspicious transaction” in a cash deposit on September 4, 2018 of eight €500 notes. A day earlier, on September 3, Marogna withdrew €1,000 from his Logsico account to deposit it into his personal bank account in Rua de Porta Angelica, on the border of Vatican City. This is also confirmed by the camera footage of the border police. The analysis also showed that Marogna paid for two nights in four-star hotels in Sardinia with money from a Slovenian account.
When questioned by the civil parties, the gendarme explained that at the time of those transactions he was no longer Becciu’s substitute and that Perlasca reported in the conversation that his successor, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, had expressed complaints about the payments, of which he had no knowledge. Bassetti confirmed that these payments were made by Credit Suisse bank, at the behest of Tirabassi, through the institutional email attached to the exchange payment order, the only one with signature authority.