Vatican scandal, Switzerland confirms the seizure of 60 million in Mencioni

John Sibley via Reuters

A general view of 60 Sloane Street in London, Britain, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

The financier Raffaele Mencioni, who participated in the purchase and sale of the famous London building on Sloane Ave with the Secretariat of State of the Holy See (which is being tried in the Vatican), requested a series of appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeals that Swiss accounts confiscated for a year were opened and that Nzz ( Neu Zurcher Zeitung) has been set at around 60 million euros. Mencioni, represented by attorneys Miriam Mazo and Rocco Taminelli, requested the release of the accounts because “the disputed kidnapping will not allow him to cover his personal and family expenses. He will not be able to repay personal or company-related loans, which will also be refused from partnerships and financing, as well as opening accounts banking, even having to close existing relationships. Because of the disputed kidnapping, the rebels would also suffer indisputable and significant damage to his image and reputation.”

In short, Mincione admits that a financial hoopla has spread around him in many countries. But the Criminal Complaints Tribunal in its judgment on file RR.2021.144 published on the website of the Federal Criminal Court on January 3, 2022, asserted that “Without investigating the existence and extent of the financial obligations on which it was based, for which the documents submitted, it should be noted that the applicant He has not submitted any documents that would allow this court to ascertain whether he had no other assets to address the alleged economic hardship. It is not entirely clear from the file documents what the income and assets of the person concerned are. Under the circumstances, it is impossible for this court to assess whether there is bias immediate and cannot be reformed within the meaning intended in the aforementioned jurisprudence.

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On the contrary, according to the court, “it is necessary to conclude from the foregoing that the seized values ​​can be forfeited as direct proceeds of disputed crimes (by the Vatican, editor) to the plaintiff, even if in the end and still it is necessary to wait for any foreign confiscation decision to assess the nature of the action at that moment “.

Moreover, the Public Prosecution Office of the Swiss Confederation (a type of Swiss State Prosecutor’s Office) “already identified several transactions on the disputed account (ie the subject of the dispute with the Vatican, ed.) which can be directly linked to the alleged facts against the applicant”. That is, the money held in the account in question is derived from the London case. Moreover, the Vatican’s promoters stated that in the foreign proceedings Mencioni was accused of “crimes related to which he brought in profits of at least 300 million euros”. Therefore, according to the judges, the confiscation of 60 million is proportional to the state of the proceedings.

The rulings also dispel another myth that in the Vatican due to a peculiar institutional structure (with the Pope at the head of state and legislative and judicial power) there are no principles of due process. According to the Complaints Court, this is evidenced by the order of October 6, 2021, taken by the court headed by Giuseppe Benatoni, which returned documents to the Promoter of Justice also against Mencioni to create a possible new indictment.

For the four documents relating to the procedure signed by the Supreme Pontiff, which the applicant only became aware of in July 2021 and which grant broad powers to the promoters of justice (the so-called Rescripta di Papa Francesco), the Mincione defence (according to another sentence that rejected another appeal by Mincione published on 28 December 2021 by the Court of Appeal of the Swiss Court) was unable to establish that it had “attempted to gain access to the documents of the Vatican proceedings during various stages of the investigation and that requests in this regard had been rejected by the relevant authorities, or that the aforementioned papal documents had been deliberately concealed” .

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The referee who missed Mincioni also adds an important note that removes all objections. Incidentally, the Vatican City Code of Criminal Procedure is based on the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure of 1913, which provides – as is also expected from the Swiss Code of Procedure – the possibility of recourse and obtaining copies of file documents during the various stages of the criminal procedure. Therefore, if the papers were not produced, there was a lack of “due diligence” on the part of Mincioni’s defense.

Finally, there is the issue of the violation of the principles of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights. “On the basis of the aforementioned papal documents – reads the sentence – the petitioner claims that the procedure abroad would violate elementary procedural principles or would present serious loopholes or other serious shortcomings, particularly since the Vatican State would not respect the principle of separation and “nor” does not benefit from the minimum fair trial guarantees. But since these alleged violations can only be invoked by a person present in the state who requests Swiss legal aid, the Court of Appeal “puts it” as “close to recklessness and this stalled method of disposition cannot find protection”.


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