Former Head of Vatican Bank Sentenced to Eight Years Jail for Theft.
A former head of the Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia, has been found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering and sentenced to eight years and 11 months in prison, making him the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be convicted of a financial crime.
The Vatican court also convicted Gabriele Liuzzo, 97, and his son Lamberto Liuzzo, 55, both Italian lawyers who were consultants to the bank. Caloia led the bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), from 1989 to 2009. The 81-year-old Italian was tried over corrupt real estate deals.
He was accused of conspiring with others to make millions from the below-market sale of more than 20 IOR properties in Italy and laundering the proceeds in Switzerland. The court established that the defendants “pocketed some of the money paid by buyers, or in any case money belonging to IOR, for a total of around 19 million euros ”, the Vatican said in a statement.
Prosecutors claimed the illicit gains were worth 59 million euros in total, but judges did not find evidence of wrongdoing for some of the 29 deals under scrutiny. Liuzzo and Lamberto were sentenced to eight years and eleven months, and five years and two months respectively.
The court ordered the sequestering of about 38 million euros in defendants’ bank accounts that were frozen and a payment of more than 20 million euros in damages to the IOR and its real estate company.
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All Customs and Border Protection (CPB) construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall will stop by the end of Tuesday, according to a Democratic congressman whose district is located along the border.
“I received notification that in accordance with President [Joe] Biden’s executive order, all CPB contractors have now been formally notified by CBP Procurement to pause construction activities on CBP self-executed projects,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said in a statement. “While CBP cannot speak on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it is expected that DOD and USACE are undertaking parallel action on CBP-funded border wall projects that they are overseeing.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the CBP, for comment about the wall construction halt.
The Trump administration had obtained billions of dollars in funding to construct the wall. Over the last four years, amid legal and congressional battles, about 450 miles of the wall were built along the border.
The wall stoppage on Tuesday complies with Biden’s executive orders that were issued last week. The order halted projects where money was shifted from military projects to the border.
“This is a promising step in our work to halt construction of the ineffective and wasteful border wall and undo the damage that borderlands have experienced these past four years,” Cueller continued in his statement. “However, our work continues. I remain steadfast in my commitment to working with the new administration until every border wall contract is terminated and all construction crews leave our border communities.”
After Biden’s executive orders were issued, former Trump administration officials said that the border wall is necessary to reduce immigration numbers.
That includes former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, who said the Biden administration has made the United States less safe with the president’s executive blitz last week after taking office.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden made this country less safe,” Morgan told Breitbart News on Jan. 23. “It’s pure politics over public safety.”
“Look, I know what our team said to the transition team,” Morgan said. “I know the facts and data and analysis that was provided. I know what they told them and gave them that showed that the wall works.”
Morgan added that he believes the current administration did not speak to experts with the Border Patrol about the policies that should remain, including the wall. He also cited executive orders ending the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
One of former President Donald Trump’s final trips was to the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Alamo, Texas.
The Biden administration has paused a rule put in place by former President Donald Trump that would allow community health centers to pass on all their insulin and epinephrine savings to patients.
According to a Federal Register (pdf) post, “this action temporarily delays for 60 days from the date of the memorandum the effective date of the final rule titled ‘Implementation of Executive Order on Access to Affordable Life-saving Medications,’ published” in December 2020.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added that the “temporary delay in the effective date of this final rule is necessary to give Department officials the opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations, consistent with the memorandum of January 20, 2021.”
The move, according to the White House chief of staff Ron Klain, is part of its effort to scrutinize Trump’s health policies and other executive orders.
Klain issued a directive that suspends new regulations for 60 days, while the new administration carries out a review. The insulin and epinephrine rule was to have taken effect on Jan. 22.
“With respect to rules that have been published in the Federal Register, or rules that have been issued in any manner, but have not taken effect, consider postponing the rules’ effective dates for 60 days from the date of this memorandum, consistent with applicable law and subject to the exceptions described in paragraph 1, for the purpose of reviewing any questions of fact, law, and policy the rules may raise,” Klain wrote.
He explained: “For rules postponed in this manner, during the 60-day period, where appropriate and consistent with applicable law, consider opening a 30-day comment period to allow interested parties to provide comments about issues of fact, law, and policy raised by those rules, and consider pending petitions for reconsideration involving such rules.”
According to a Bloomberg Law article, critics of the Trump rule said that health centers providing the two drugs “already pass on those savings and this [Trump] rule is merely an administrative burden that paints them as entities that price-gouge patients.”
Trump also last year signed an executive order to lower drug prescription prices.
“It is unacceptable that Americans pay more for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same places,” his September 2020 order reads. The order had called on the HHS secretary to “immediately take appropriate steps to implement his rulemaking plan to test a payment model,” and implement a “most favored nations” policy.