News Column

Vatican Says It Caught Person Who Leaked Documents

May 25, 2012

The Vatican said Friday that its police is holding a suspect in connection with the "illegal" possession of classified documents.

"This person is at the disposal of the Vatican magistrates for ulterior clarification," papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

Lombardi's announcement came a day after the board of the Holy See's bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), unanimously voted to dismiss its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, in a decision reportedly linked to the leaking of Vatican documents.

It was unclear whether Friday's arrest was directly linked to the IOR controversy.

The identification of the person, who Lombardi did not name, follows an investigation by the Vatican's Gendarmerie corps into the leaking of several documents, including confidential letters written to Pope Benedict XVI.

In a report posted on its internet site, daily Il Foglio identified the person as a member of the pontiff's domestic staff, a man named Paolo Gabriele.

The Vatican had denounced as "criminal" a book released in Italy this week which contained several leaked documents, some of which appeared to indicate a power struggle inside the Holy See.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the Vatican said the IOR's supervisory board had adopted a motion of no confidence against Gotti Tedeschi and "recommended the cessation of his mandate as president and member of the board."

The IOR did not specify the exact reasons for Gotti Tedeschi's dismissal, with the statement merely mentioning "increasing worries" regarding the governance of the institute.

Italia media have reported that Gotti Tedeschi's dismissal is linked to his alleged role in leaking Vatican documents at a time when the IOR is attempting to comply with international financial transparency standards.

Gotti Tedeschi, who was named president of the IOR in 2009, has also been placed under investigation for alleged money laundering, but the Vatican had repeatedly backed him against the accusations.

"Board members are saddened by the events which led to this vote of no confidence, but believe that this action is important in order to maintain the vitality of the Institute (IOR)," the statement added.

Pending a formal decision by the Commission of Cardinals, the board said it would "search for a new and distinguished president who can assist the IOR to regain effective and wider relations .... with the financial community based on the shared respect of accepted international banking standards."

The Vatican has in recent months been embarrassed by a series of leaks, including confidential letters sent to Pope Benedict XVI.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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