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Monday, 23 July 2012

Paolo Gabriele Arrested: Pope Butler Had Secret Documents In Possession, Vatican Says


Vatican: Pope's butler moved to house arrest


21 July 2012Last updated at 17:18 GMT

The Pope's butler has been released from custody and moved to house arrest.

The Vatican said that Paolo Gabriele will remain under house arrest pending a decision on whether he should stand trial for leaking confidential papers to the media.

He was charged in May after a series of leaks exposed alleged corruption and internal conflicts at the Holy See.

Mr Gabriele's lawyer Carlo Fusco said his client had operated on his own in an "act of love" toward the Pope.

The so-called "Vatileaks" scandal saw an Italian investigative journalist publish hundreds of secret documents detailing fraud scandals, nepotism and cronyism within the Holy See.

'Acted alone'

Italian media reported in May that a stash of confidential documents had been found in the apartment Mr Gabriele shares with his wife and three children inside the Vatican.

"There are definitely no networks, no internal or external plots in which Paolo was involved. His motivations were all internal," AFP news agency reported Mr Fusco as saying.

"He wanted the Church to be more alive. He had an idea to help a situation."

The Vatican's judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, has been instructed to examine the evidence of the case and to decide whether there is sufficient material to proceed to trial.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said a magistrate would decide whether to proceed by early August.

Italian media reported that if convicted, Mr Gabriele could face a sentence of up to 30 years for illegal possession of documents of a head of state, probably to be served in an Italian prison due to an agreement between Italy and the Vatican.

 

'Vatileaks' butler wanted to help the pope – lawyer

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/22/vatican-butler-idINDEE86L01O20120722?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

VATICAN CITY | Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:57am IST
(Reuters) - Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler held on suspicion of leaking documents alleging corruption in the Vatican, was driven by a desire to help the pope, his lawyer said on Saturday, adding that his ultimate aim may have been to clean up the Church.

The lawyer, Carlo Fusco, told a news conference that Gabriele had acted alone in the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal and was not part of any wider plot, saying he expected a Vatican magistrate to order a trial for him soon.

The 46-year-old butler's arrest on May 23 caused an international furore afer police found confidential documents in his apartment inside the Vatican, a dramatic twist that threw the global media spotlight on an institution battling to defend its reputation from allegations of graft.

"The motivations that prompted him to do certain things are all of an interior nature. There were no external motives," Fusco said after assisting Gabriele in an interrogation that lasted seven hours.

Asked by a reporter if Gabriele's motive could have been to "help the pope clean up the Church", Fusco said: "That would be one way of interpreting it."

Fusco said Gabriele, who is being investigated for aggravated theft and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty, was "moved by the desire to do something that could be an act of help, an act of love, towards the pope".

"Obviously the way in which each person expresses (such desires) are subjective and are debatable," Fusco added.

Gabriele has been held in a small "safe room" inside the Vatican police station for the past two months, but on Saturday a decision was taken to allow him to return to his flat under house arrest.

Some Italian newspapers allege corruption in the Vatican's business dealings with Italian companies, involving the payment of inflated prices for work, while others highlight rivalries among cardinals and clashes over the management of the Vatican's bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR).

REGRET
Fusco said his client showed signs of remorse.
"He has been able to reflect long and hard these days and came to the conclusion that the method (of helping the pope) could have been different. He certainly regrets the method that was used."

Many commentators have said that Gabriele, who served the pope his meals and rode in the front seat of the popemobile at Pope Benedict's general audiences, could not have acted alone and was just a scapegoat for others. But the lawyer denied this.

"We can say with absolute certainty that there was no network, there were no plots, either in the Vatican or outside the Vatican, that Paolo was part of," Fusco said. The butler's other lawyer, Cristiana Arru, said Gabriele had not been motivated by personal gain. "He received no money or personal benefits", she said.

Gabriele is widely expected to ask the pope, who is the sovereign of Vatican City, for a pardon. If is it not granted, he would serve his term in an Italian jail according to bilateral agreements between the Vatican and Italy.

"The Holy Father will make the decision he deems opportune," Fusco said, referring to a possible request for a pardon.

Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said a Vatican magistrate would decide by the start of August whether to order Gabriele to stand trial. Any trial would not start before September.

Gabriele, who has dual Vatican and Italian citizenship, is still the only person formally accused in the "VatiLeaks" scandal.

A commission of three cardinals that led a separate investigation, and who questioned many people in the Vatican, delivered their report directly to the pope last week. Its contents remain confidential.
(Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Paolo Gabriele Arrested: Pope Butler Had Secret Documents In Possession, Vatican Says


AP  |  By NICOLE WINFIELD Posted: Updated: 05/26/2012 7:23 pm
VATICAN CITY (AP) — An already sordid scandal over leaked Vatican documents took a Hollywood-like turn Saturday with confirmation that the pope's own butler had been arrested after documents he had no business having were found in his Vatican City apartment.

The detention of butler Paolo Gabriele, one of the few members of the papal household, capped one of the most convulsive weeks in recent Vatican history and threw the Holy See into chaos as it enters a critical phase in its efforts to show the world it's serious about complying with international norms on financial transparency.

The tumult began with the publication last weekend of a book of leaked Vatican documents detailing power struggles, political intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of Catholic Church governance. It peaked with the inglorious ouster on Thursday of the president of the Vatican bank. And it concluded with confirmation Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI's own butler was the alleged mole feeding documents to Italian journalists in an apparent bid to discredit the pontiff's No. 2.

"If you wrote this in fiction you wouldn't believe it," said Carl Anderson, a member of the board of the Vatican bank which contributed to the tumult with its no-confidence vote in its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. "No editor would let you put it in a novel."

The bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, issued a scathing denunciation of Gotti Tedeschi in a memorandum obtained Saturday by The Associated Press. In it the bank, or IOR by its Italian initials, explained its reasons for ousting Gotti Tedeschi: he routinely missed board meetings, failed to do his job, failed to defend the bank, polarized its personnel and displayed "progressively erratic personal behavior."

Gotti Tedeschi was also accused by the board of leaking documents himself: The memorandum from the Institute for Religious Works, as the bank is known, said he "failed to provide any formal explanation for the dissemination of documents last known" to be in his possession.

In an interview with the AP, Anderson stressed that the latter accusation was independent of the broader "Vatileaks" scandal that has rocked the Vatican for months. But he stressed: "It is not an insignificant issue."

Gotti Tedeschi hasn't commented publicly about his ouster or the reasons behind it, saying he has too much admiration for the pope to do so. He also hasn't been arrested, avoiding the fate that befell Gabriele.

The 46-year-old father of three has been in Vatican detention since Wednesday after Vatican investigators discovered Holy See documents in his apartment. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Gabriele had met with his lawyers and that the investigation was taking its course through the Vatican's judicial system.

Gabriele, the pope's personal butler since 2006, has often been seen by Benedict's side in public, riding in the front seat of the pope's open-air jeep during Wednesday general audiences or shielding the pontiff from the rain. In private, he is a member of the small papal household that also includes the pontiff's private secretaries and four consecrated women who care for the papal apartment.

Lombardi said Gabriele's detention marked a sad development for all Vatican staff. "Everyone knows him in the Vatican, and there's certainly surprise and pain, and great affection for his beloved family," the spokesman said.

The "Vatileaks" scandal has seriously embarrassed the Vatican at a time when it is trying to show the world financial community that it has turned a page and shed its reputation as a scandal plagued tax haven.

Vatican documents leaked to the press in recent months have undermined that effort, alleging corruption in Vatican finance as well as internal bickering over the Holy See's efforts to comply with international norms to fight money laundering and terror financing.

The Vatican in July will learn if it has complied with the financial transparency criteria of a Council of Europe committee, Moneyval — a key step in its efforts to get on the so-called "white list" of countries that share financial information to fight tax evasion.

Anderson acknowleged that the events of the last week certainly haven't cast the Holy See in the best light. And he said the bank's board appreciated that the ouster of its president just weeks before the expected Moneyval decision could give the committee pause.

"The board considered that concern and decided that all things considered it was best to take the action at this time," Anderson said. "These steps were taken to increase the IOR's position vis-a-vis Moneyval."

The Vatileaks scandal began in January when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi broadcast letters from the former No. 2 Vatican administrator to the pope in which he begged not to be transferred for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in higher contract prices. The prelate, Monsignor Carlo Maria Vigano, is now the Vatican's U.S. ambassador.

Nuzzi, author of "Vatican SpA," a 2009 volume laying out shady dealings of the Vatican bank based on leaked documents, last weekend published "His Holiness," which presented a trove of other documents including personal correspondence to the pope and his secretary — many of them painting Benedict’s No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a negative light.

Nuzzi has said he was offered the documents by multiple Vatican sources and insisted he didn't pay a cent (euro) to any of them.

Gabriele was in Vatican custody and unavailable for comment. No known motive has come to light as to why Gabriele, if he is found to be the key mole, might have passed on the documents. Nuzzi declined to comment Saturday on whether Gabriele was among his sources.

Bertone, 77, has been blamed for a series of gaffes and management problems that have plagued Benedict's papacy and, according to the leaked documents, generated a not inconsiderable amount of ill will directed at him from other Vatican officials.

"For some time and in various parts of the church, criticism even by the faithful has been growing about the lack of coordination and confusion that reign at its center," Cardinal Paolo Sardi, the former No. 2 official in the Vatican secretariat of state, wrote to the pope in 2009, according to the letter cited in "His Holiness."

Anderson, who heads the Knights of Columbus, a major U.S. lay Catholic organization, said he was certain the Holy See would weather the storm and that the Vatican bank, at least, could move forward under a new leader with solid banking credentials as well as a desire to show off the bank's transparency.

"I hope this will be the beginning of a new chapter for the IOR and part of that chapter will be restoring the public image of the IOR," he told AP. "I think we have a good story to tell."

 

Vatican Bank Account Closed At JP Morgan, Image May Be Hurt


By Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca

VATICAN CITY/MILAN, March 19 (Reuters) - JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank's account with an Italian branch of the U.S. banking giant because of concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See's financial institution, Italian newspapers reported.


The move is a blow to the Vatican's drive to have its bank included in Europe's "white list" of states that comply with international standards against tax fraud and money-laundering.


The bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), enacted major reforms last year in an attempt to get Europe's seal of approval and put behind it scandals that have included accusations of money laundering and fraud.


Italy's leading financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported at the weekend that JP Morgan Chase in Milan had told the IOR of the closing of its account in a letter on Feb. 15.


The letter said the IOR's account in Italy's business capital would gradually be phased out starting on March 16 and closed on March 30.


In Milan, JP Morgan Chase declined to comment and the Vatican also had no comment. It was not possible to contact IOR officials because Monday was a holiday in the Vatican.


Il Sole said JP Morgan Chase informed the IOR that the account was being closed because the bank's Milan branch felt the IOR had failed to provide sufficient information on money transfers.


The financial newspaper, which gave the number of the IOR account, said some 1.5 billion euros passed through it in about 18 months. It said the account was a "sweeping facility," meaning that it was emptied out at the end of each day with funds transferred to another IOR account in Germany.


The closure move by JP Morgan Chase, which was also reported by two leading general newspapers on Monday - Corriere della Sera and La Stampa - was a further blow to the IOR, whose image has been tarnished by a string of scandals.


In September, 2010, Italian investigators froze 23 million euros ($33 million) in funds in two Italian banks after opening an investigation into possible money-laundering.


The bank said it did nothing wrong and was just transferring funds between its own accounts. The money was released in June 2011 but Rome magistrates are continuing their probe.


"VATILEAKS" SCANDAL

The public image of the bank has also been harmed by the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, in which highly sensitive documents, including letters to Pope Benedict, were published in Italian media.


Some of the leaked documents appear to show a conflict among top Vatican officials about just how transparent the bank should be about dealings that took place before it enacted its new laws.


The IOR, founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII, handles financial activities for the Vatican, for orders of priests and nuns, and for other Roman Catholic religious institutions.


Last year, the Vatican adapted internal laws to comply with international standards on financial crime.


The 108-acre sovereign state surrounded by Rome now complies with the rules of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).


It also established an internal Financial Information Authority (FIA) along the lines of other countries and has committed to comply with international anti-money laundering standards and liaise with the group and law enforcement agencies.


The IOR was entangled in the collapse 30 years ago of Banco Ambrosiano, with its lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi and the mysterious death of Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi - "God's banker".


The IOR then held a small stake in the Ambrosiano, at the time Italy's largest private bank and investigators alleged that it was partly responsible for the Ambrosiano's fraudulent bankruptcy.


Several investigations have failed to determine whether Calvi, who was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge near London's financial district, killed himself or was murdered.


The IOR denied any role in the Ambrosiano collapse but paid $250 million to creditors in what it called a "goodwill gesture".