Former head of Vatican bank guilty of embezzlement, money laundering -court

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FILE PHOTO: The former president of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) Angelo Caloia is seen during the first hearing of his trial at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A Vatican court on Thursday convicted Angelo Caloia, a former head of the Vatican bank, on charges of embezzlement and money laundering and handed down an eight-year, 11-month jail sentence.

Caloia, 81, was president of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) between 1999 and 2009. He became the highest ranking Vatican official to be convicted of a financial crime.

Also convicted were Gabriele Liuzzo, 97, and his son Lamberto Liuzzo, 55, both Italian lawyers who were consultants to the bank.

The three were charged with participating in a scheme in which they embezzled money while managing the sale of Italian real estate owned by the bank between 2001-2008.

They allegedly siphoned off tens of millions of euros by declaring far less than the actual amount of the sale.

Gabeiele Liuzzo was given the same sentence as Caloia while Lamberto Liuzzo was given a sentence of five years and two months. All denied wrongdoing during the trial, which began in 2018.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Crispian Balmer, Kirsten Donovan)