An Australian man who accused Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing him denied he was bribed for his testimony, shooting down the latest con-spiracy theory to roil the Vatican amid a corruption investigation into its shady finances.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has speculated in recent days that Vatican investigators were looking into whether Pell’s nemesis at the Vatican, ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, wired 700,000 euros ($823,000) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia, and whether that money was tied to Pell’s sex abuse trial.
Pell, brought in by Pope Francis to bring accountability and transparency to the Vatican’s opaque finances, was convicted but ultimately absolved by Australia’s High Court of allegations he molested two choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne while he was archbishop in the 1990s.
Corriere speculated that Becciu might have “bought” the testimony of Pell’s accuser to get Pell out of the Vatican. Becciu and Pell were known to have clashed over the Australian’s financial clean-up efforts at the Holy See.