Prosecutors asked Lolato to examine the financial operations carried out by the Secretariat of State in relation to the purchase of the London building as a technical consultant.
On Friday, the Vatican’s auditor general, Alessandro Cassinis Righini, testified.
Righini had been acting auditor general since June 2017 and full auditor since May 2021.
He succeeded Libero Milone, who served as auditor general from 2015 until he was dismissed in 2017, just two years into a five-year mandate.
Milone was hired as the Vatican’s first auditor general in a move to introduce more financial transparency in the Vatican City State.
Three months after stepping down, Milone claimed that he was “threatened” into resignation by an “old guard” opposed to his work and accused Cardinal Becciu of targeting him after he launched an investigation into a possible conflict of interest.
A Sept. 30 statement from Becciu’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, claimed the suspension of the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit in April 2016 “was not an autonomous choice of the then-sostituto Monsignor Becciu, but a position taken by the Secretariat of State.”
Righini was questioned Sept. 30 about the external audit ordered by Cardinal George Pell, then prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, and reportedly opposed by Becciu.
He also answered questions about meetings he took part in with secretariat officials regarding financial investments.
Righini said he was surprised that the Secretariat of State considered making an investment in an oil company in Angola given its evident conflict with the teachings of Pope Francis in his environmental encyclical Laudato si (the investment eventually fell through).
Funds originally earmarked for the Angola investment were reportedly rerouted into the London building purchase.
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The auditor general said Pope Francis did not know anything about the London investment. But later, under additional questioning, he revised his statement to say he could not be 100% certain the pope knew nothing.
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