Author Topic: Vatican in chaos after butler arrested for leaks  (Read 2204 times)

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TrxiZ

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Vatican in chaos after butler arrested for leaks
« on: May 27, 2012, 14:41:32 PM »
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's inquisition into the source of leaked documents has yielded its first target with the arrest of the pope's butler, but the investigation is continuing into a scandal that has embarrassed the Holy See by revealing evidence of internal power struggles, intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church governance.

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 including correspondence, notes and memos to the pope and his private secretary. 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 whirlwind 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 IOR memorandum 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 said 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 media 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 € 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."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501714_162-57442212/vatican-in-chaos-after-butler-arrested-for-leaks/

enrica

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Re: Vatican in chaos after butler arrested for leaks
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2012, 15:05:32 PM »
Pope's butler charged in 'Vatileaks' scandal

Paolo Gabriele, who helped dress and serve pope, charged with leaking papers alleging intrigue and graft inside Vatican.

26 May 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's butler has been arrested and charged with illegal possession of secret documents following embarrassing leaks that exposed alleged intrigue and corruption in the Vatican, a spokesman has said.

Federico Lombardi said in a statement on Saturday that Paolo Gabriele, a layman who lives inside Vatican City, was arrested on Wednesday.

The Vatican said a wider investigation would take place to see if Gabriele, 46, had any accomplices that helped him leak the documents.

Vatican documents leaked to the press in recent months alleged corruption in Vatican finance and bickering over the Holy See's efforts to show more transparency in its financial operations.

Italian commentators said they doubted that Gabriele could have acted alone and some speculated that he may have been a pawn in a larger, internal power struggle.

"Never has the sense of disorientation in the Catholic Church reached these levels," Church historian Alberto Melloni wrote in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper. "But now there is something even more - a sense of systemic disorder."

'Secure rooms'

A statement referred to Gabriele, who was until his arrest serving the pope meals and helping him dress, as "the defendant".

Gabriele was being held in one of the three so-called "secure rooms" in the offices of the Vatican's tiny police force inside the walled city-state as the Vatican has no jail.

The Vatican promised that he would have "all the juridical guarantees foreseen by the criminal code of the State of Vatican City".

It said the upgraded, formal investigation "would continue until a sufficient framework of the situation is acquired", which a Vatican official said meant magistrates wanted to determine if Gabriele acted alone or with others.

The pope was said to be "pained" that someone in his domestic household had betrayed him. Gabriele lived in the Vatican with his wife and three children.

He has been close to the pope, often seen by his side in public and riding in the front seat of the pontiff's open-air jeep during the pope's general audiences.

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

At the centre of the scandal is Pope Benedict XVI's No 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

Confidential memos


A statement referred to Gabriele, who was until his arrest serving the pope meals and helping him dress, as "the defendant".

Gabriele was being held in one of the three so-called "secure rooms" in the offices of the Vatican's tiny police force inside the walled city-state as the Vatican has no jail.

The Vatican promised that he would have "all the juridical guarantees foreseen by the criminal code of the State of Vatican City".

It said the upgraded, formal investigation "would continue until a sufficient framework of the situation is acquired", which a Vatican official said meant magistrates wanted to determine if Gabriele acted alone or with others.

The pope was said to be "pained" that someone in his domestic household had betrayed him. Gabriele lived in the Vatican with his wife and three children.

He has been close to the pope, often seen by his side in public and riding in the front seat of the pontiff's open-air jeep during the pope's general audiences.

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

At the centre of the scandal is Pope Benedict XVI's No 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

The scandal took on even greater weight last week with the publication of "His Holiness", a book which reproduced confidential letters and memos to and from Benedict and his personal secretary.

The Vatican called the book "criminal" and vowed to take legal action against the author, publisher, and whoever leaked the documents.

The Vatican had already warned of legal action against the author, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, after he broadcast letters in January 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 US ambassador.

Nuzzi, author of "Vatican SpA", a 2009 volume laying out shady dealings of the Vatican bank based on leaked documents, said he was approached by sources inside the Vatican with the trove of new documents.

Most of them, he said, were of fairly recent vintage and many of them painted Bertone in a negative light.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/05/201252613920381189.html

enrica

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Re: Vatican in chaos after butler arrested for leaks
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 10:51:30 AM »
La Repubblica (english) - "I confess: I'm one of the whistleblowers. We're doing it to defend the Pope"

The Vatileaks story, an informer speaks out: "There's a group of us: the real brains behind it are cardinals, then there are monsignors, secretaries, small fry." The valet is just a delivery boy that somebody wants to set up." "Vatican intelligence has security systems more advanced than anything the CIA has... but cardinals are still in the habit of writing their messages by hand and dictating them." "It's open warfare, with everyone against everyone else."

by MARCO ANSALDO

ROME - Who are the Vatican whistleblowers? "There isn't just one brain behind the operation, there are several. There are cardinals, private secretaries, monsignors and the small fry. Men and women, priests and laypeople. The whistleblowers even include cardinals. But the Vatican Secretary of State cannot admit that and has the small fry arrested, like "Paoletto" (as Paolo Gabriele is affectionately known), the Pope's valet. Who has got nothing to do with it apart from having passed on some letters."
A suburb in the north of Rome, a table in a bar, traffic passing by. It is lunchtime on a now limpid Sunday morning and one of those behind the flow of confidential letters from the Holy See 1 is explaining how the operation works.
"Those doing it are acting to protect the Pope."

The Pope? Why?
"Because the whistleblower  -  or rather whistleblowers, because there are more than one of them  -  want to reveal the corruption inside the church in recent years, since 2009-2010."

Who are they? Who are you?
"There are those opposed to the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. And those who think that Benedict XVI  is too weak to lead the church. And those who think that this is the time to step forward. So it's become everyone against everyone else. It's war and you no longer know which side anyone is on."

My source is tormented, wanting to speak but at the same time frightened and full of doubts. No names to be published, it would put him or her at risk. There are sudden silences, suspicious glances. "Can I trust you? This thing is terribly delicate." Let's try.

How did the leaks from the Vatican start?
"Out of fear that the power accumulated by the Secretary of State was not in the interest of others in the Vatican."

But is money also involved?
A hand runs through the hair, eyes look around, fingers torment a ring.
"Money is always involved. There are also economic interests in the Holy See. In 2009-2010 some cardinals began to sense a loss of central control: partly from attempts to restrict the freedom of the inquiry that Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò was running against corruption, partly because of the Pope's gradual detachment from internal matters."

The cars in the street honk their horns. Two dogs end up in a fight. We change location. Walk up the hill. Another bar, with an internal garden, a little quieter. The conversation proceeds more smoothly.
"What happened then? Viganò wrote to the Pope denouncing cases of corruption. He asked for help, but the Pope couldn't do anything. He couldn't do anything because it would create an open rift with his right-hand man. In order to keep the Church united he sacrificed Viganò. Or rather, pretended to sacrifice him, because, as you know, the nuncio in Washington (where Viganò was sent) is the most important. So the Cardinals realised that the Pope was weak and sought protection from Bertone."

What did the Pope do then?
"The Pope realised that he had to protect himself. He summoned five people he knew he could trust, four men and one woman. The so-called rapporteurs, Benedict's secret agents. The Pope asked these people for advice, giving everyone a role, with the woman coordinating all five. "

There is a woman helping the Pope in this?
"Yes, she's the strategist. Then there is one physically collecting the evidence. Another preparing the ground, and the other two make sure all this is possible. The role of these trusted people is to tell the Pope who are his friends and who his enemies, so you know who you are fighting against."

Meanwhile, how did the leaking of documents start?
"They started to come out. Channels and journalists were identified."

How are they taken out?
"By hand. The Vatican intelligence service has integrated security systems in the basement of the Apostolic Palace, directed by a 35-year-old ex-hacker, that are more advanced than anything the CIA has, sophisticated systems, but they're no use. Because the Cardinals are used to writing their messages by hand and dictating them. They are then delivered by hand. And the leaked documents are their way of fighting this war. The primary objective was to attack the Pope, to weaken him and convince him to give up control of the political and economic affairs of the Church. Something had to be done."

And the president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was ousted?
"Same thing. Even though he was really close to the Pope: they wrote the encyclical Caritas in Veritate together. Gotti didn't answer to anyone, only the Pope, sending Benedict memos to describe the situation inside the IOR (Institute for Religious Works, the official name of the bank). Including the failed operations, like the law against money laundering or the takeover of the San Raffaele hospital and research centre. Bertone gets jealous, accuses Gotti and decides to oust him. When the Pope heard about Gotti's dismissal last Thursday, he started to cry, "My friend Ettore!"

The Pope was crying?
"Yes, but then he got really angry and reacted, saying that the truth would come out."

But he couldn't oppose it?
"He could have, but it would have meant a sensational rupture with his Secretary of State."

And then the next day?
"And the next day the Pope was struck again, close to home, when Paoletto was arrested. Now the Pope is in despair. But Paoletto is not the whistleblower, there are lots of whistleblowers. At most someone has used him."

They are saying that Gotti is one of those behind the leaks.
"Gotti is an honest person, who is keeping quiet, as he did during the official investigation into the IOR. And he is now after being thrown out. He's not playing any games; he's not behind the leaks."

Father Georg, Pope's secretary, is also in the crosshairs?
"He was one of the targets for one faction: now more than ever he represents the link between all the Vatican departments and the Pope, acting as a filter, influencing and advising the Pope."
We've now been taking for three hours, it is mid-afternoon, and we're on our third coffee. This person is very well-informed and knows the details, the way things work and the people inside the Holy See like few others.

Why did you decide to come out into the open?
"To reveal the truth. And to bring an end to this media witchhunt for a culprit in the guise of a whistleblower (the valet), a priest (Father George), or a high official or cardinal (Gotti, Cardinal Piacenza or others). The role of the Church is to defend the Gospel, not to accumulate power and money. And I'm doing this in the name of God. I'm not afraid."

(Translated from Italian by Kathryn Wallace)

(28 maggio 2012)

http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2012/05/28/news/intervista_ansaldo_english_version-36076134/?ref=HREC1-1