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Vatican cardinal denies wrongdoing after resigning over financial scandal

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Angelo Becciu talks to journalists on Friday, a day after he resigned and renounced his rights as a cardinal
Angelo Becciu talks to journalists on Friday, a day after he resigned and renounced his rights as a cardinal   -   Copyright  Gregorio Borgia/AP   -   Vaticano
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A Vatican cardinal told by Pope Francis to resign following a financial scandal involving his brother has denied any wrongdoing.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu said in a news conference on Friday that his conscience was clean and he did not believe he had committed any crime.

The pope said he had lost confidence in the cardinal, one of the Vatican's most powerful officials after Italian financial police alleged he had embezzled over €100,000 in Holy See funds.

The news magazine L'Espresso first reported on Friday that he sent the money three years ago to his home diocese in Ozieri, Sardinia, where his brother Tonino is the legal representative of its charitable arm.

Becciu admitted sending the funds but insisted it was a legitimate transaction, and added he was prepared to speak to magistrates on the matter.

He was the head of the Vatican's saint-making office, but his resignation means giving up his rights and privileges as a cardinal, including voting in a conclave to elect a new pope.

On the possibility he may have to face Vatican prosecutors, Becciu said:

“If they want me to clarify, I’ll clarify. All the more now because the pope took away my rights as a cardinal and there’s no more obligation [to be judged solely by the pontiff].

“So I’m a citizen like everyone else, and if they call me, I’m ready."