Cardinal Pell’s lawyer urges probe into bribe claims

Cardinal Giovanni Becciu and Cardinal George Pell (CNS)

Authorities should investigate allegations that an Italian cardinal used Vatican funds to corrupt the sexual abuse case levelled against Cardinal George Pell, according to his former defence barrister. Source: The Australian.

Robert Richter QC said claims that more than $1.1m in Church money was used as a bribe should be independently examined.

Three prominent Italian newspapers have reported that Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, a rival of Cardinal Pell, was suspected of paying the money to influence the failed case against him.

Viv Waller, the lawyer representing the complainant, said he had not received any of the money allegedly sent from the Vatican.

No evidence confirming the plot has been furnished by Cardinal Becciu’s accusers.

Mr Richter said the allegations were serious and should be investigated by authorities with the capacity to track money.

Victoria Police has not received a complaint about the money transfers, which have further scandalised the Vatican and coincided with Cardinal Pell’s return to Rome.

Cardinal Becciu has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Italian newspapers have reported that Cardinal Becciu is suspected of arranging for €700,000 ($1.1m) to be sent to unnamed people in Australia to ensure unfavourable evidence against Cardinal Pell.

Cardinal Pell was jailed for more than a year after being wrongly convicted of abusing two Melbourne choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the mid-1980s. The High Court quashed the conviction in April and Cardinal Pell was freed.

Cardinal Becciu was forced to resign by Pope Francis last month, as Vatican investigators sifted through his spending record at the Secretariat of State.

FULL STORY

Follow the ‘money trail’ to investigate Vatican plot: Pell’s barrister (By John Ferguson and Paola Totaro, The Australian)

RELATED COVERAGE

George Pell's lawyer calls for investigation into claim bribes paid to influence sexual assault case (The Guardian

Lawyer denies Pell's accuser ever received money for evidence (The Age)

Pell lawyer calls for investigation into bribery reports (Australian Financial Review)

Pell’s lawyer calls for investigation into bribe claims (Herald Sun)

Sacked cardinal ‘used Vatican funds to bribe witnesses in Pell trial’ (The Australian

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