Vatican trial raises more questions than answers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- At the ongoing Vatican trial involving alleged embezzlement, money laundering and abuse of office, the defense has raised more questions about the prosecution's handling of the investigation into the Vatican's questionable majority share purchase of a London property.

Since the start of the trial in July, defense lawyers have consistently argued that the case should be thrown out, particularly due to the prosecution's alleged tampering of the video testimony of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, the former head of the Secretariat of State's administrative office and former suspect.

Furthermore, at the trial's fourth session Nov. 17, Luigi Panella, the lawyer representing Italian investment manager Enrico Crasso, argued that conversations between the prosecution and Pope Francis regarding the case should be included in the evidence.

Panella said that in one video clip, Msgr. Perlasca seemed to be "shocked" when prosecutors countered one of his statements with a comment made by the pope regarding the investigation.

Vatican deputy prosecutor Alessandro Diddi told the court that he was not referring to a private conversation with Pope Francis but rather the pope's comments during a news conference aboard the papal flight from Japan in November 2019.

However, the transcript of an interrogation that took place in late April 2020 -- shared with journalists by Panella -- paints a slightly different picture.