In the trial, which resumes Friday, prosecutors have accused the Holy See’s longtime money manager, Italian brokers and lawyers of fleecing the pope of tens of millions in fees and of then extorting the Vatican of 15 million euros to finally get full ownership of the property.

The Vatican’s big fraud and extortion trial resumes Friday after exposing some unseemly realities of how the Holy See operates, with a new spy story taking center stage that is more befitting of a 007 thriller than the inner workings of a papacy, AP reports.

According to written testimony obtained Thursday, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers brought in members of the Italian secret service to sweep his office for bugs and commissioned intelligence reports from them, completely bypassing the Vatican’s own police force in the process.

The reported actions of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the No. 2 in the Vatican secretariat of state, raise some fundamental questions about the security and sovereignty of the Vatican City State, since he purportedly invited foreign intelligence operatives into the Holy See’s inner sanctum, and then outsourced internal Vatican police spy work to them.

Peña Parra hasn’t been charged with any crime, though his subordinates have. They are among 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, on trial in the Vatican criminal tribunal in connection with the Vatican’s bungled 350 million euro investment in a London property.Vatican spy story takes center stage as fraud trial resumes

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