Vatileaks: Pope’s butler arrested over secret documents scandal
The Vatican police have today arrested Pope Benedict XVI’s personal butler on charges of leaking sensitive documents to the media, just days after the ousting of the president of the Vatican bank.
46-year-old Paolo Gabriele, known by the nickname Paoletto, has worked as part of the Pope’s “inner circle” since 2006. He is one of a team of four laypeople and four nuns who have access to the Papal apartments, spending up to 13 hours a day with the Pope.
Gabriele is currently awaiting trial in the Vatican jail, which hasn’t been used for some years. He has been allowed to make contact with two lawyers.
Italian newspaper La Stampa printed quotes from an anonymous priest who had taken confession from Gabriele. The priest said: “He loves the pope so much that he would never betray him…I found him a person who loves the Church.”
The leaks have largely concerned the Vatican’s finances, with one of the more serious documents leaked this year discussing the inflation of contracts with “friendly” companies, false invoicing and missing money.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement that a man had been arrested with “documents in possession”, and went on to clarify that this man was a layperson and not a member of the clergy.
The head of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, resigned after a vote of no confidence on Thursday. He was already under investigation for money laundering and there were rumours that he had been behind the leaks himself, although the Vatican didn’t mention this in a statement regarding his dismissal.
The statement explained that he had resigned, “for not having carried out various responsibilities of primary importance regarding his office.”