Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has sought to clarify a court ruling in October which ordered him to pay nearly €2 million of inheritance plus legal fees to his brother, a priest living in Chicago.
In a Dec. 3 statement issued through his lawyers said he had “already willingly paid” the amount to his brother, Father Lorenzo Viganò, and would not be appealing the decision. Archbishop Viganò’s lawyers said he was issuing the statement “In light of the recent unfounded news that appeared in multiple newspapers and other media outlets, regarding an alleged conviction for “fraud,” “theft” or misappropriation of funds, to the detriment of his brother.”
According to media reports, the inheritance has been a cause of contention in their relationship for years, and Father Viganò, a biblical scholar who has lived in Chicago since 2008, has tried to sue over the bequest numerous times. The October ruling was the first time he had succeeded in being rewarded any money.
Archbishop Viganò, who remains in hiding after publishing his testimony against Vatican corruption in August, said in the statement that his brother has been subjecting him to a “judicial siege and a veritable defamation campaign in the press” for over a decade, adding that the priest failed to inform “obliging journalists that the accusations” made against Archbishop Viganò had been “abandoned or dismissed in the 10 civil, criminal, and administrative cases attempted to date.”
Both brothers, two of six siblings, jointly held and administered their family’s substantial assets worth €20 million plus a cash sum of more than €6 million until Father Viganò left for the United States a decade ago.
The legacy was bequeathed to them by their parents who were “entrepreneurs in the industrial field,” according to today’s statement. The statement went on to disclose that Father Vigano had made an “initial request” for €40 million which was a “grossly unrealistic figure in respect to the actual value of the entire joint ownership of property of the two brothers.”
It added that the Milan court ruling rejected this along with “all the other requests” from Father Viganò, and stated that as a result of the judgment, Father Viganò received “essentially what he would have received had he accepted the settlement proposals made by his brother, pro bono pacis [a concession made solely for the sake of peace], in the course of the proceedings.”
The statement also revealed that Archbishop Viganò had allocated most of the inheritance to “works of charity and religion” which include a seminary in Nigeria and a Carmelite monastery in Burundi, “and will continue to do so.”
Father Viganò, who began legal proceedings against his brother in 2010 and, according to today’s statement, has “refused any mediation from the family,” suffered a stroke in 1996 and is confined to a wheelchair.
He has lived in Chicago allegedly without ecclesiastical permission and, according to documentation obtained by the Register, he (or others acting in his name) has refused to respond to repeated attempts by Church officials to communicate with him.