Title: Claim bribes paid to frame George Pell as sex abuser ‘ludicrous’, complainant’s father says
Even the staunchest George Pell supporters conceded the claims were wild: could the cardinal have been framed as a child sex abuser to settle a Vatican feud?
“I know. It sounds incredible,” Andrew Bolt told his audience on Sky News this week.
“I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories. This sounds like … a Dan Brown thriller.
“But this is, in fact, exactly what Pell and his many supporters in the Vatican have always suspected, and could never prove.”
Almost a week after the claims were made, that proof remains elusive.
Three Italian newspapers reported allegations that Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, who resigned under a cloud last month, made a $1.1 million payment to undisclosed recipients in Australia to secure a conviction against Pell, who he had clashed with over attempts to reform the Vatican’s finances.
Becciu denies he made such a payment or any other wrongdoing.
“I categorically deny interfering in any way in the trial of Cardinal Pell,” he said in a statement.
Pell supporters say the reports underline a suspicion about how one of his accusers was able to afford a lucrative property that was purchased after he made allegations against Pell.
Bolt said on Sky he had seen property records to back the claim.
Another person who was close to the case told Guardian Australia that someone who had been investigating the purchase of the property for weeks had his house burgled on Monday, and nothing but the documents were taken.