Tuesday 20 February 2018

Butler had papers Pope ordered 'to be destroyed'

Nick Squires Vatican City

Vatican police seized encrypted documents and confidential papers that the Pope had marked "to be destroyed" when they raided the apartment of his butler, a court has heard.

Officers from the Vatican Gendarmerie found thousands of papers when they raided Paolo Gabriele's apartment on May 23, acting on suspicions that he had leaked highly compromising material to an Italian investigative journalist, who published it in a book, the court heard yesterday.

The haul showed that Mr Gabriele had a keen interest in secret services, espionage, the occult, scandals involving the Vatican bank and the P2, a shadowy masonic lodge whose members included prominent Italian politicians.

The encoded documents were sent from the Vatican Secretariat of State to papal nuncios, or ambassadors, around the world.

"There were papers where the Holy Father had written 'to be destroyed' in German," said Stefano De Santis, one of the gendarmes who took part in the search.

The stash of documents also referred to the death of "God's banker", Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982.

Mr Gabriele (46) also downloaded instructions on masking his mobile phone number and how to send files by email.

Four gendarmes were cross-examined on the third day of his trial for allegedly stealing compromising papers from the Pope's apartments, where he worked.

They said they seized more than 50 boxes of evidence during their search, including many USB memory devices, two or three computers and an iPad.

One of the gendarmes, Inspector Silvano Carli, said Mr Gabriele had stashed "an infinity of documents" in the study and living room of the apartment he shared with his wife and children.

The judge adjourned the trial until Saturday, when it is expected to conclude after just four hearings. Mr Gabriele is charged with "aggravated theft", which carries a penalty of up to four years' jail. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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