Wednesday 23 August 2017

Vatican aides 'diverted €400,000 from child hospital'

The Vatican-run Bambino Gesu' pediatric hospital, in Rome. Photo: AP
The Vatican-run Bambino Gesu' pediatric hospital, in Rome. Photo: AP

Philip Pullella

A Holy See tribunal has indicted two former top officials of a children's hospital on charges of diverting over €400,000 to renovate the apartment of a high-ranking cardinal, the Vatican has said.

The two, Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina, respectively the former president and treasurer of the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, were ordered to stand trial, with the first hearing set for July 18.

The indictment accuses the two men of spending €422,000 in 2013 and 2014 on refurbishing the large Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was not indicted.

Profiti and Spina made no immediate comment.

Bertone (82) was the Vatican secretary of state for most of the pontificate of former Pope Benedict and was one of the most powerful men in the Holy See.

He was removed from office in 2013, eight months after the election of Pope Francis. The renovation work started a few weeks later on the spacious property, which is next door to the Vatican guest house, where the Pope lives in a modest suite.

The indictment of two people close to Bertone indicated that Vatican prosecutors were determined to pursue even delicate cases, a Vatican official said.

Profiti and Spina risk prison sentences of three to five years if convicted, under Vatican laws on conspiracy to commit a crime and misappropriation of funds.

Bertone's comfortable lifestyle clashed with that of the Pope, who shunned the large papal apartments in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and has urged Church prelates to lead humble, frugal lives.

When the Vatican confirmed last year that Profiti and Spina were under investigation, a lawyer for Bertone said the cardinal had never asked for, nor authorised payment for the restoration work from hospital funds. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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