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

John Sibley via Reuters

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

The financier Rafael Mencioni, involved in the sale of the famous building in London on Sloane Street with the Secretariat of the Holy See (whose hearing is being held in the Vatican), requested the Court of Appeal and the Assize Court. Complaints were opened that the Swiss accounts had been seized for a year and that Nzz (Neu Zurcher Zeitung) had been valued at around €60 million. Mencioni, represented by attorneys Miriam Mazo and Rocco Taminelli, requested the release of his 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 Court of Criminal Complaints in Judgment on File RR.2021.144 published on the website of the Federal Criminal Court on January 3, 2022 affirmed that “Without investigating the existence and extent of the financial obligations invoked, on which the documents were submitted, it should be noted that The applicant has not submitted any documents that would allow this court to ascertain whether he has no other assets to address the alleged economic hardship. It is not entirely clear from the documents on file what the income and assets of the person concerned are. Under the circumstances, it is impossible for this court to assess whether There is an immediate bias that cannot be fixed within the meaning of the aforementioned jurisprudence.”

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On the contrary, according to the court, “from the foregoing it must be concluded that values ​​seized as direct proceeds of disputed crimes (by the Vatican, ed.) can be confiscated to the plaintiff, even if in the end it is still necessary to await any foreign confiscation decision to assess the nature of the action in 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 funds held in the account in question are derived from the London case. In addition, the Vatican’s promoters stated that in 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 which rejected another appeal by Mincione published in December 28, 2021 by the Court of Appeal of the Swiss Court) was unable to establish that it “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, 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 also provides for the Swiss Code of Procedure – the possibility of consulting and obtaining copies of file documents during 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 in the state who requests Swiss legal aid, the Court of Appeal “puts it” as “close to recklessness, and this stalled way of acting cannot find protection”.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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