Pope's butler quizzed about Vatican leaks
A prosecutor began interrogating Pope Benedict's butler yesterday to decide if he should stand trial in what would be one of the most sensational court cases ever in the Vatican.
Prosecutor Piero Antonio Bonnet questioned Paolo Gabriele in the presence of his two lawyers and Nicola Piccardi, another Vatican judicial official, known as the "promoter of justice".
Mr Bonnet must now decide whether there is enough evidence to order Mr Gabriele, who was arrested on May 23 after Vatican police found a large number of confidential papal documents in his Vatican apartment, to stand trial on charges of aggravated theft.
Mr Gabriele (46), who can be held for up to 100 days in pre-trial custody, was arrested as part of a Vatican investigation into what is known as the 'Vatileaks' scandal, in which sensitive papal documents were leaked to the Italian media.
Many Vatican insiders believe the butler could not have acted alone and may be a pawn in a much wider power struggle between cardinals.
The leaking scandal, which began in January, alleges corruption in the Vatican's business dealings with Italian companies, which were paid inflated prices for work in the Vatican, rivalries among cardinals and clashes over the management of the Vatican's bank, the IOR.