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Former Vatican bank president sentenced to nearly nine years jail in embezzlement trial

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By Alessio Dellanna  & Giorgia Orlandi with ANSA
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This picture shows the trial of the former president of the IOR Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia (not seen) on embezzlement charges, on May 9, 2018 at the Vatican.
This picture shows the trial of the former president of the IOR Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia (not seen) on embezzlement charges, on May 9, 2018 at the Vatican.   -   Copyright  HO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP
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The former head of the Vatican Bank has been sentenced to almost 9 years in prison for embezzling millions of euros from the Holy See.

Former president of Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), Angelo Caloia, 81, was convicted by a Vatican court of money laundering and aggravated embezzlement related to the sale of real estate owned by the bank.

His 97-year-old lawyer and a third defendant were also found guilty and sentenced to jail terms. All three denied the allegations and intend to appeal.

Before the verdict, Caloia had proclaimed himself innocent, and “a victim” of “operations orchestrated by other people.”

Caloia, who served as president from 1999 to 2009, and lawyer Gabriele Liuzzo were sentenced to eight years and 11 months in jail, according to a statement from the Vatican on Thursday.

The men were found guilty of skimming profits from the sale of Vatican properties.

The judge also ordered Caloia and Liuzzo to pay a fine of €12,500 each.

They stood accused of having cheaply sold 29 properties - over 70 per cent of the organisation's real-estate assets - to themselves through offshore companies.

The trial also involved Gabriele Liuzzo’ son, Lamberto Liuzzo, who was also found guilty for his part in the crime and sentenced to five years and two months in prison, and was fined €8,000.

Investigations into the crimes began in 2014 and focused on operations carried out between 2001 and 2008, which caused estimated financial damage of €57 million.

Following the investigations, Caiola resigned from all his posts, including the presidency of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, which oversees the maintenance and preservation of Milan’s famous Cathedral.

The three defendants all received lifetime bans from serving in public office.

None of them attended the sentencing and the Vatican did give details on how they would be taken into custody.

Watch our full report by clicking on the media player above.