Italian cardinal sentenced over London property scandal

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The Vatican court has sentenced an Italian cardinal to five years and six months in prison for embezzlement. 

Cardinal Angelo Becciu was also fined €8,000 (about £6,900) following the conclusion of a trial over the management of Secretariat of State funds relating to the purchase and sale of a building in London. 

Cardinal Becciu was found guilty of three counts of embezzlement.

He stood trial with nine other defendants and four companies, with the sentences handed down on Saturday. 

Enrico Craso, former financial adviser to the Secretariat of State, was sentenced to seven years in prison and a €10,000 fine (£8,600). 

Financier Raffaele Mincione received a prison sentence of five years and six months, and an €8,000 fine. 

Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former employee of the administrative office of the Secretariat of State, was given a seven-year sentence and a €10,000 fine. 

They were all permanently barred from public office. 

Criminal charges were pressed after questions were raised about the purchase and sale of 60 Sloane Avenue in London. 

The court found that embezzlement had occurred for the sum of $200m and $500,000 paid between 2013 and 2014, "amounting to about one-third of the availability at the time of the Secretariat of State because it violated the provisions on the administration of ecclesiastical property," the judgment said.