VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis met on Monday with Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former economy minister who has returned to Rome after the firing of an Italian cardinal whom Pell had accused of obstructing financial reform.

Pell was cleared earlier this year of sexual abuse charges in Australia after spending 13 months in prison, and it remains unclear whether he will take up another role in the Vatican.

The Vatican announced the meeting between Pell and Pope Francis in a statement on the pope’s daily private audiences, but gave no details. “It went very well,” Pell told reporters in front of his residence just outside the Vatican walls.

Pell returned to Rome on Sept. 30, just days after the pope fired Pell’s nemesis, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was accused of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

While Becciu was number two in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and Pell was economy minister, the two had a very stormy relationship.

Becciu told reporters the day after he was sacked about a meeting between Pell, the pope and Becciu where Pell told Becciu, “You are dishonest”, and Becciu replied: “How dare you!”

After Becciu was sacked, Pell said: “The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments.”

Pell said he hoped the “cleaning of the stables” would continue.

Becciu’s lawyer has denied Italian media reports that his client sent money to Australia to help Pell’s “enemies” while he was facing the sexual abuse charges.

Through his lawyer, the Australian man who accused Pell of sexually abusing him two decades ago denied Italian reports speculating that he may have been bribed to testify.

Pell’s Australian lawyer, Robert Richter, called for an

By Abhirup Roy and Saeed Azhar

MUMBAI/DUBAI (Reuters) – Indian entrepreneur BR Shetty has filed a complaint with federal investigative agencies in India seeking a probe into two former top executives of his companies and two Indian banks related to a multibillion dollar financial scandal engulfing his group.

Several companies linked to Shetty, including top United Arab Emirates hospital operator NMC Health PLC and payments firm Finablr PLC

, have come under severe financial strain this year after short-seller Muddy Waters questioned NMC’s financials.

At issue, Muddy Waters said, were questions about NMC’s asset purchase prices and capital expenditures, which it said were both inflated.

NMC and Finablr subsequently announced far higher debts than they had previously reported.

Shetty’s 55-page complaint, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, accuses the former chief executives of NMC and Finablr, along with their associates and bankers, of inflating the companies’ balance sheets, arranging “illegal” credit facilities and misappropriating funds since 2012.

It calls on India’s federal police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) – India’s financial crime fighting agency – to investigate.

The complaint, with more than 100 pages of supporting documents, indicates it was also sent to India’s prime minister’s office, central bank and other investigative agencies.

A spokesman for the two former CEOs, brothers Prasanth and Promoth Manghat, rejected Shetty’s allegations, saying he had significant control over the running of NMC after stepping aside as CEO in 2017 and that he or his family remained on the boards of companies including Finablr.

“These unfounded allegations against Prasanth Manghat and Promoth Manghat are a clumsy attempt to distract attention away from the skills and real value added by them to the success of NMC, Finablr … and Shetty’s own role in what has taken place,” the

By Abhirup Roy and Saeed Azhar

MUMBAI/DUBAI, Oct 12 (Reuters)Indian entrepreneur BR Shetty has filed a complaint with federal investigative agencies in India seeking a probe into two former top executives of his companies and two Indian banks related to a multibillion dollar financial scandal engulfing his group.

Several companies linked to Shetty, including top United Arab Emirates hospital operator NMC Health PLC and payments firm Finablr PLC FINF.L, have come under severe financial strain this year after short-seller Muddy Waters questioned NMC’s financials.

At issue, Muddy Waters said, were questions about NMC’s asset purchase prices and capital expenditures, which it said were both inflated.

NMC and Finablr subsequently announced far higher debts than they had previously reported.

Shetty’s 55-page complaint, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, accuses the former chief executives of NMC and Finablr, along with their associates and bankers, of inflating the companies’ balance sheets, arranging “illegal” credit facilities and misappropriating funds since 2012.

It calls on India’s federal police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) – India’s financial crime fighting agency – to investigate.

The complaint, with more than 100 pages of supporting documents, indicates it was also sent to India’s prime minister’s office, central bank and other investigative agencies.

A spokesman for the two former CEOs, brothers Prasanth and Promoth Manghat, rejected Shetty’s allegations, saying he had significant control over the running of NMC after stepping aside as CEO in 2017 and that he or his family remained on the boards of companies including Finablr.

“These unfounded allegations against Prasanth Manghat and Promoth Manghat are a clumsy attempt to distract attention away from the skills and real value added by them to the success of NMC, Finablr … and Shetty’s own role in what

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis sought to assure external inspectors of the Vatican’s financial operations on Thursday that he was pushing ahead with reforms, as the Holy See reeled from a scandal in which he fired a powerful cardinal.

In an address to Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s financial monitoring arm, Francis listed recent actions he had taken to make Vatican finances more transparent.

He appeared to refer to the Vatican’s latest financial scandals when he quoted the gospel story of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple and telling them “You cannot serve both God and money”.

Last month, the pope fired Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, accusing him of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

Moneyval is making one of its periodic inspections to check the Vatican is complying with international norms to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

“The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a ‘clean finance’, in which the ‘merchants’ are prevented from speculating in that sacred ‘temple’,” Francis said.

Italian media have this week run interviews with a woman who says she received 500,000 euros from Becciu to run a “parallel diplomacy” to help missionaries in conflict areas.

Cecilia Marogna’s purported work for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, where Becciu held the number two position until 2018, was not previously known.

In an emailed response to Reuters on Wednesday, Becciu’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said the cardinal knew Marogna but that his dealings with her had been “exclusively about institutional matters”. He did not mention her comments about the funds, which Marogna said went through a company she started in Slovenia.

Marogna, 39, who like Becciu is from Sardinia, did not reply to a phone message from Reuters.

Addressing the inspectors, Francis pointed to his approval

FILE - Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham speaks during a televised debate with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Cunningham has admitted to sending sexual text messages to a California strategist who is not his wife. Cunningham apologized but said he would not drop out of the race in a statement to multiple news outlets late Friday.

FILE – Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham speaks during a televised debate with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Cunningham has admitted to sending sexual text messages to a California strategist who is not his wife. Cunningham apologized but said he would not drop out of the race in a statement to multiple news outlets late Friday.

AP

A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship this summer with a consultant.

Previously undisclosed text messages obtained by The Associated Press and additional interviews show that the relationship extended beyond suggestive texts, as was previously reported, to an intimate encounter as recent as July.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and the contest between Cunningham and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has been among the most watched in the country, with polls showing a tight race and both parties investing heavily in the outcome.

Cunningham’s personal indiscretion offers a fresh test of whether voters will punish candidates for their private, consensual activity, and the answer they deliver could determine which party wields power in the Senate. The chamber has been a bulwark for Republicans under President Donald Trump, with Democrats in control of the House.

An Army Reserve lieutenant colonel with a wholesome appeal, Cunningham was widely viewed as the kind of recruit Democrats needed to make inroads in conservative-leaning Southern states like North Carolina.

Yet the text messages and interviews offer a glimpse that is at odds with the image of a devoted family man. A week ago, a conservative website, NationalFile.com, published text messages between Cunningham and Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations