The Vatican is investigating two former officials about claims that money for a children’s hospital was used to refurbish a cardinal’s luxury apartment.
Costly work at former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s flat — contrary to Pope Francis’s recommendations that Church officials live as modestly as he — caused a scandal when it was alleged that the Bambino Gesu (Baby Jesus) Hospital foundation had helped foot the bill.
Giuseppe Profiti, former manager at the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu, and its ex-treasurer, Massimo Spina, are being investigated, Vatican press officer, Greg Burke, said, confirming a report in Italian magazine, L’Espresso.
The two men no longer work at the hospital. A lawyer for Bertone, who is not being investigated, said the cardinal had never asked for, or authorised, any payment from the hospital foundation in relation to his apartment.
Pope Francis has prioritised Vatican finances, as allegations of crimes have continued to emerge, including two major investigations, begun in late 2014, into the handling of real estate and investments.
Vatican investigators are looking into allegations the former hospital managers were involved in embezzling and misusing funds, according to L’Espresso. The work on Bertone’s residence cost €422,000, the magazine reported.
Burke did not confirm the details of the L’Espresso story.
Its author, Emiliano Fittipaldi, published a book last year that included the allegations that money meant for sick children had been spent on Bertone’s flat. The book, Avarice, was also at the centre of what media dubbed a ‘Vatileaks’ trial into the leaking of Church documents.
In another case involving the Bambino Gesu, Italian media reported in June that magistrates suspected a cardinal might have diverted €30m in state funds, which was intended for the hospital, towards saving a different, Church-owned institution.
Bertone said last December that he would pay €150,000 to the Bambino Gesu, which says it is the largest paediatric hospital and research centre in Europe.
Hospital director, Mariella Enoc, was quoted saying, at the time, that Bertone had not received the money directly, but wanted to make amends for “damage” suffered by the hospital.
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