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Relics and militants: Vatican fraud trial sprawls the globe

By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s financial trial has taken a surreal turn with a defendant asserting she escorted two emissaries of Russian President Vladimir Putin into the Holy See to negotiate the return of relics to the Russian Orthodox Church. The negotiations failed. But the fantastical narrative recounted by Cecilia Marogna in court documents Thursday illustrated a remarkable situation the Holy See found itself in. It apparently entrusted delicate diplomatic, ecumenical and intelligence work to a previously unknown security analyst who got in the door by impressing a cardinal. Lawyers for Marogna filed a statement in which she explained her work on behalf of the Holy See in terms that read more like a James Bond job description.

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