VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Vatican prosecutors in the Catholic Church’s 2-year-old corruption trial asked Wednesday (July 26) that Cardinal Angelo Becciu be sentenced to seven years and three months in prison and pay 14 million euros in fines for embezzlement, abuse of office and witness tampering in connection with a real estate deal that lost almost $200 million.In all, the Vatican’s head prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, asked that the trial’s 10 defendants serve a cumulative 73 years and one month in prison.
None of the defendants has been found guilty by the Vatican tribunal, which will continue to hear closing arguments this week. The judges have until December to make a ruling on innocence or guilt and issue a sentence.
Becciu, who was stripped of his powers as a cardinal but not his title by Pope Francis in 2020, would be the first cardinal to be sentenced to prison by a Vatican tribunal.
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Becciu has staunchly insisted on his innocence against all accusations through interviews, statements and in court. “Concerning the Prosecutor’s request, a single day in prison would not be a fair sentence,” said Becciu’s lawyers, Maria Concetta Marzo and Fabio Viglione, in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Cardinal has always been a loyal servant of the church and has suffered in silence, defending himself during the trial and actively taking part in the hearings. He subjec …