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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis licensed spending as much as a million euros to unfastened a Colombian nun abducted in Mali, a cardinal instructed a Vatican courtroom on Thursday, revealing prior to now undisclosed negotiations to protected her unencumber.

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, previously probably the most Vatican’s highest-ranking prelates, mentioned the pope had approved his efforts, together with bills to the militants connected to Al Qaeda who in 2017 had abducted Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti in a village in Mali. She used to be launched in 2021.

Cardinal Becciu, accused of embezzlement, abuse of administrative center and witness tampering, is on trial with 9 different defendants in a corruption trial that facilities on a London actual property deal wherein the Vatican misplaced thousands and thousands, fees that the defendants deny.

Francis demanded the cardinal’s resignation as head of the dept in command of making saints in September 2020. Talking of the instant that the pope had faced him, Cardinal Becciu mentioned Thursday: “For greater than a 12 months and a part I’ve been tormented via a query: Why have been those false accusations reported to the Holy Father?”

The cardinal has testified prior to now within the trial, which started closing July. However this used to be the primary time that he publicly gave information about the case involving the abducted nun, which he mentioned were certain via each state and pontifical secret.

On Thursday he thanked the pope for “having allotted me from the duty of secrecy, thus permitting me to talk freely and protect myself with general transparency.”

There used to be no fast Vatican reaction to the cardinal’s assertions.

He prefaced that protection via vowing — with “robust and colourful indignation” — that he had by no means had flawed family members with Cecilia Marogna, an Italian lady who used to be the middleman within the negotiations to unfastened the nun. Ms. Marogna could also be on trial, accused of getting embezzled about 575,000 euros from the Vatican Secretariat of State. Prosecutors declare she used a lot of it for “private receive advantages,” together with luxurious items. She denies wrongdoing.

Cardinal Becciu testified that he had met Ms. Marogna in 2016 and were inspired via her experience in “geopolitical problems and world safety.” He mentioned he had became to Ms. Marogna for lend a hand following the abduction in February 2017 of Sister Narvaez, and that she had instructed him that she may just paintings with The Inkerman Crew, a British intelligence company, on “the entire operations essential for the liberation of Sister Gloria.”

He mentioned he had broached the topic with Pope Francis, who “used to be happy that efforts have been being made to unfastened the nun and instantly understood the need of now not exposing the Vatican to useless, and certainly destructive, exposure.”

The cardinal mentioned the pope had given him the authorization to continue, however to take action confidentially. The pope additionally had approved the prices of the operation, “about a million euros, a part of which might be used to arrange the touch community and section for the real unencumber of the nun,” he mentioned Thursday. “I should say that each and every step of this operation used to be agreed upon with the Holy Father.”

He mentioned any bills made were “aimed on the liberation of Sister Gloria and the bills to be incurred for that objective,” and that “no sum were destined as repayment to Mrs. Marogna,” who would have gained some repayment had the nun been launched.

Cardinal Becciu didn’t say whether or not a ransom were paid to the militants for the nun’s unencumber. The Vatican mentioned closing 12 months that her unencumber used to be the “results of months of negotiations involving the Holy See and the Colombian bishops.”

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