Vatican City

Pope's butler indicted as new vatileaks suspect emerges

'A scapegoat has been found', Gabriele quoted in case report

Pope's butler indicted as new vatileaks suspect emerges

(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 13 - The Vatican announced on Monday it was indicting Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele for the aggravated theft of secret Church documents, but the case report says Gabriele suspected he was being used as a scapegoat. Making the indictment announcement was Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi, who revealed that Claudio Sciarpelletti, an IT expert who worked at the Holy See, has been indicted too for aiding and abetting. "(Sciarpellett'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. 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. However a case report released Monday showed that Gabriele suspected other forces were at work shortly after his arrest. "A scapegoat has been found," the pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, quoted Gabriele as saying two days after he was jailed for what would be a two-month term. Gabriele is now under house arrest. Vatican experts and the media have speculated that the butler 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. In the case report, Gaenswein added that Gabriele said his conscience was "clean". 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". In a bizarre revelation Monday, the court report said that investigators found a check for 100,000 euros made out to Pope Benedict XVI in Gabriele's house. His lawyer told ANSA that he does not know how it came into his possession. "He didn't even remotely plan on taking it," said Carlo Fusco. "It happened by mistake," he said, adding that it must have gotten picked up with other papers. In addition to finding the check, investigators also said they found inside his home a gold nugget and a 1581 edition of the Aeneid. The items, including the check, were gifts to the pope, the Vatican said. 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.

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