Marsaxlokk parish priest deposits are a red flag compared to earnings

The parish priest of Marsaxlokk, Father Luke Segna, had bank deposits of €450,000 in seven years, while his salary during the same period was only €75,000.

The information came to light at the first meeting of the compilation of evidence against 39-year-old Segna, who was accused of embezzlement and money laundering.

Seguna was indicted last week and Curia put him on leave pending a criminal investigation. Segna’s arraignment was dropped last week after he complained of chest pains and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Segna remains in prison after being denied bail at the end of today’s meeting.

Inspector Christopher Eller of the police’s Financial Crimes Investigation Division said in March 2022 police received information that many of the transactions in the defendant’s bank account did not match the financial status of the person holding the profession of a parish priest. I testified that

bike, land rover, garage

According to inspectors, in 2016, the year he became a parish priest, Segna’s salary reached 16,204 euros, and gradually increased each year to 20,613 euros. According to prosecutors, his salary from the archdiocese was his only income, and he received no inheritance.

The inspector said that on December 28, 2021, the defendant purchased Paola’s garage for €34,000. Segna owned his five motorcycles, Land Rover and Fiat 500. These are all he got between 2014 and 2021.

Segna had 10 bank accounts under his own name and was the signatory of the bank accounts for the parish of Marsaxlokk as a parish priest.

During the period 2015-2022, Segna’s bank account showed a total income of €449,000, while prosecutors say his salary was just €75,000 before tax during the same period.

Police have established cash deposits of more than €200,000 in his bank account between 2015 and 2021.

Parish Accounts, Suspicious Checks, Dementia

Between 2017 and 2020, €24,000 was transferred in the form of checks from a bank account in the Parish of Marsaxlokk to an HSBC account in Segna.

Two checks from a certain Joseph Attard to Segna had conflicting signatures, and six checks worth €15,000 from a certain Louis Caruana to the accused also had conflicting signatures.

On one HSBC account, Segna received €75,000 in checks ranging from €300 to €5,000. Inspector Ellul said HSBC spoke to the defendant about checks he deposited in 2020. The defendant told the bank that Caruana was a parish attendant and had asked him for money to distribute to various charities.

Segna informed the bank that he had handed Caruana €10,000, but then asked for his money back.

Caruana died in 2021, according to prosecutors, and during the time the check was issued, health officials declared he was suffering from dementia.

Asked by the bank why the money had been deposited into his personal bank account, Segna said it was his personal money and had received €4,000 during an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of his ordination as a priest. It was donated to him, he added.

Tombola, Abrar, Revolut

Prosecutors said many transactions were marked as tombola, mass, and “arbular.” According to Ellul, Marsaxlokk’s official Facebook page has introduced a “voluntary” system that allows parishioners to donate 10 euros each month to meet the parish’s needs.

In his Revolut account, between 2019 and 2020, Segna received donations from 47 people, around €120 each. “The amounts are consistent with the ‘arbular’ and total around €6,000,” Ellul told the court.

Between 2016 and 2022, €107,000 was withdrawn from Segna bank accounts, €52,000 in cash withdrawals and the rest in restaurants and establishments.

Income in Marsaxlokk Parish Declines

Between 2014 and 2016, annual income consistently exceeded €90,000, according to the Marsaxlokk diocese’s books. Segna He became a parish priest in October 2016.

Revenue in 2017 and 2018 was €75,000, falling to €65,000 in 2019, €25,000 in 2020 and €37,000 in 2021.

Ellul noted that the impact of the 2020 and 2021 pandemics should be taken into account.

When questioned, Segna said he earned additional income from weddings and other ceremonies, as well as personal donations.

“When asked how they distinguished between parish contributions and personal contributions, defendants said they always asked donors to identify,” Erle said.

Segna told police that the majority of the donations came from parishioners, and besides cash he also received vouchers and clothing. He said he earned

Defense brand indictment ‘disgraceful’

The defendant told police the garage was funded through a loan scheme with Curia and had to be paid out over six years. Segna also said he took two loans to finance a €27,000 used Land Rover.

During the deposition, defense attorney Matthew Shelleb began shouting “għarukaża” (disgrace) at the prosecution. “So is this a case of money laundering? Are you going to accuse this priest of money laundering?”

Prosecutors told Xuereb to allow them to perform their duties.

Asked by police about the costs, Segna said they were mostly related to the cost of maintaining his car.

According to prosecutors, Segna declined to comment on checks from Luis Caruana and Joseph Attard, and most details about deposits and transfers of funds.

At the end of the trial, Magistrate Natasha Galea Siberus denied Segna bail because witnesses had not yet been summoned.

Court has been adjourned for Thursday, August 25, at 9:30 am.

Attorneys Matthew Shureb and Jose Herrera led the defense. Marsaxlokk parish priest deposits are a red flag compared to earnings

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