By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A suspect in the Vatican’s big embezzlement and fraud trial has testified that Pope Francis himself allegedly authorized key parts of the deal in question. The trial concerns the Vatican’s disastrous 350-million-euro (US$390 million) investment in a London real estate venture. A onetime Vatican official, Monsignor Mauro Carlino, testified Wednesday that Francis himself approved negotiating an exit strategy for a key suspect in the deal. Carlino said Francis was so satisfied with the outcome that he paid for a celebratory dinner at a fancy Roman fish restaurant the night the 15 million euro payout closed. Carlino’s testimony raises questions about why low-ranking Vatican officials were indicted and their superiors were not.