Italy court overturns arrest warrant for broker on trial at Vatican

View of 60 Sloane Avenue in London
A woman walks past the entrance to the 60 Sloane Avenue in London, Britain, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

ROME, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Italy's highest appeals court on Wednesday overturned an arrest warrant for an Italian broker on trial at the Vatican in a case involving the purchase of building in one of London's smartest districts, his lawyer said.

Gianluigi Torzi was one of two brokers involved in the deal and is facing charges of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and extortion at the trial that began in July. He denies any wrongdoing.

Lawyer Ambra Giovane said the appeals court had overturned the arrest warrant and sent it back to a lower tribunal that would now have to decide whether to rescind or confirm it.

Torzi lives in London and is fighting an international arrest warrant. If the lower tribunal rescinds the Italian arrest warrant, the international one would lapse, she said.

It was the latest setback for the prosecution at the trial of 10 defendants, including a cardinal who was fired by Pope Francis and a number of former Vatican employees.

At a session last week, the chief judge ordered the prosecution to give the defence more access to evidence and to question defendants who were not given the right to speak earlier. read more

The Vatican's Secretariat of State sank more than 350 million euros into the building in the South Kensington area of the British capital, according to Vatican media, and suffered what Cardinal George Pell, an ex-Vatican treasurer, told Reuters last year were "enormous losses".

The judge has given the prosecution until Nov. 3 to give the defence more evidence ahead of the trial's scheduled resumption on Nov. 17.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Giles Elgood

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