The Vatican financial scandal has taken a new twist as a woman connected to a cardinal was arrested this Tuesday. Said cardinal recently resigned from his obligations and was stripped of his rights.
Armed with a warrant from the Vatican City State, Cecilia Marogna was arrested by the Italian police in Milan. According to Reuters, an official from the Vatican told the news outlet that Marogna is suspected of misappropriation and embezzlement of Holy See magistrates' funds.
Before she was taken into custody, it can be noted that Marogna initially told Italian media that she had received around half a million in euros to run diplomacy in assisting missionaries deployed in African and Asian conflict zones.
The 39-year-old Marogna was an associate of Cardinal Giovanni Becciu who last month stepped down from his post as head of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints after reportedly being forced by Pope Francis. Becciu was also stripped of his cardinal rights, including his ability to vote for a new pope, NPR reported.
The Vatican sovereign did not give further information on why Becciu was dismissed from his service. However, it was noted that his alleged involvement in the financial scandal played a considerable part. Becciu was previously the Vatican secretariat of state's second-highest official, and his office handled the Holy See's investments.
The cardinal was then removed from his position after a magazine published an article alleging that he has done financial malfeasance.
The Italian magazine L'Espresso then published an expose which accused the cardinal of nepotism.
The accusations include his alleged steering of the funds, which the Catholic church intended for charity to a nonprofit organization headed by his brother in Sardinia.
Moreover, last year, the same magazine linked Becciu to an investment in high-end real estate in London, which reportedly cost the Vatican more than $200 million. It was noted that a huge part of the money was pocketed by middlemen. After the scandal broke out, five employees of the Holy See were suspended, Catholic News Agency reported.
During his election as Pope back in 2013, Pope Francis mandated the cleanup of the Holy See's murky and questionable finances. Since then, the pontiff has made huge steps towards imposing accountability and transparency in the church's finances.
However, almost eight years since seating in the papacy, the Vatican led by Francis is still plagued with intrigue and financial scandal.
In a statement that the Pope gave to several financial experts, which many interpreted as him throwing shade towards the resigned cardinal, he stated that many are searching for increasing their wealth without thinking of where it came from or if other people exploited it.
"You cannot serve both God and money," the Pope emphasized, citing the biblical story where Jesus cast money changers from the temple.
Meanwhile, Becciu has insisted that he has done nothing wrong and has not embezzled the money donated by the faithful for charity. He insisted that Francis is misinformed and noted that he is still willing to give his life serving the pontiff and the church.