The Vatican’s Court of Appeal upheld Friday an almost nine-year sentence against a former head of the Vatican bank for embezzlement and money laundering.
Angelo Caloia, now 83, was sentenced to eight years and 11 months in prison in January 2021, and fined 12,500 euros, in the first ever jail sentence issued by a Vatican state court in relation to financial crimes.
The verdict, which also saw lawyer Gabriele Liuzzo given the same sentence, was a milestone in Pope Francis’ ongoing efforts to clean up Vatican governance.
Caloia led the bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), from 1989 to 2009. The Italian was tried over corrupt real estate deals.
He was accused of conspiring with others to make millions from the below-market sale of more than 20 IOR properties in Italy, and laundering the proceeds in Switzerland.
The court established that the defendants “pocketed some of the money paid by buyers, or in any case money belonging to IOR … for a total of around 19 million euros (US$23 million)”, the Vatican said at the time.