Vatican City

Vatican indicts pope's butler plus IT expert in leaks case

New suspect 'provided inconsistent testimony'

Vatican indicts pope's butler plus IT expert in leaks case

(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 13 - Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele has been sent to trial for aggravated theft after being found in possession of illegally obtained Church documents, the Vatican said on Monday. Claudio Sciarpelletti, an IT expert who worked at the Holy See, has been indicted too for aiding and abetting. Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi said that Sciarpelletti is not considered an accomplice and is suspected of a less-serious crime than Gabriele. "(Sciarpelletti's case) is less grave than Gabriele's," he said. "He is not being indicted (as an accomplice)". Lombardi added that Sciarpelletti, who knew Gabriele, provided inconsistent testimony regarding the origins of an envelop. The Vatican later announced that indicting Sciarpelletti and Gabriele does not close the investigation. It would neither confirm nor deny the possibility of further indictments to come. Gabriele's arrest on May 25 rocked the Catholic world after months of sensitive Church correspondences surfacing in the Italian media. He is the only person to have been arrested in the so-called VatiLeaks case and his lawyer said he acted alone. Vatican experts and the media, however, have speculated that he is a pawn of a power struggle between cardinals, with many suggesting Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the pope's right-hand man, is the intended target. The leaked documents included letters to the pope and Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano, who was deputy governor of Vatican City at the time they were written. The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City. The Vatican has blasted the media's coverage of the leaks affair and Bertone has accused journalists of playing at being Dan Brown, saying they were guilty of "inventing tales and peddling legends". Benedict is said to be baffled by the case and the alleged actions of Gabriele, whom "he loved like a son," says Bertone.

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