Arrests over Vatican leaks

A monsignor and a woman have been arrested in an investigation into yet another leak of confidential information and documents, the Vatican has said.
Arrests over Vatican leaks

A statement from the Holy See’s press office said that Vatican prosecutors yesterday upheld the arrests of the two, who had been interrogated over the weekend.

It identified the woman as Francesca Chaouqui and the monsignor as Reverend Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda.

The monsignor is still a Vatican employee, while Chaouqui had served on a financial reform commission set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his drive to reform the Holy See’s finances. Vallejo Balda had also served on the commission, now defunct.

A Vatican spokesman, Reverend Ciro Benedettini, said Vallejo Balda was being held in jail in Vatican City. Chaouqui was allowed to go free as she co-operated in the probe, the Vatican said.

“In the context of judicial police investigations carried out by the Vatican gendarmerie, or police force, and begun several months ago because of the removal and leak of confidential information and documents, on Saturday and Sunday, two persons were summoned to be interrogated on the basis of elements and evidence that had been gathered,” the Vatican said.

While Francis is intent on modernising the Vatican and making its finances more transparent, the arrests were the latest confirmation that scandal and intrigue still swirl, as they have for centuries, through the largely closed world of the city-state’s administrative bureaucracy.

Current and past papacy efforts to clean house at the Vatican have sparked resentment and found resistance in the Holy See’s entrenched bureaucracy, a perfect combination of factors to foster leaks.

Leaks of confidential documents from retired Pope Benedict XVI’s papers in 2012 led to the arrest and trial of a papal butler and a Vatican computer technician.

Last week, Italian news reports said the Vatican police were investigating to see who had tampered with the computer of the top Holy See’s auditor, Libero Milone, who was appointed a few months ago by Pope Francis.

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