- Title: Vatican hospital corruption trial starts with setbacks for defence
- Date: 18th July 2017
- Summary: VATICAN CITY (FILE - MARCH, 2014) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CARDINAL TARCISIO BERTONE
- Embargoed: 1st August 2017 13:56
- Keywords: Indictment Bambino Gesu Vatican apartment Cardinal Bertone
- Location: ROME, ITALY AND VATICAN CITY
- City: ROME, ITALY AND VATICAN CITY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0026Q8USLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The trial of two ex-officials of a Vatican-owned children's hospital on charges of diverting nearly half a million dollars to renovate the apartment of top cardinal began on Tuesday (July 18) with a string of setbacks for the defence.
Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina, respectively the former president and treasurer of the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, are charged with spending 422,000 euros ($481,000) in 2013 and 2014 on refurbishing the large Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's former number two.
The court left open the possibility that Bertone, who was not indicted along with the two, might be called as a witness.
His retirement apartment, which has a huge terrace and breath-taking view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, has become a symbol of the tug-of-war between the frugal-minded pope and the luxury some Church leaders still enjoy.
At the trial's start in the Vatican's tiny courtroom in a building just a stone's throw from both the apartment and the pope's residence, lawyers for the defence asked that journalists be barred from future hearings.
Two defence requests to declare that the Vatican court had no jurisdiction over the men because the hospital they ran is in Italy and because the money paid to an Italian construction company to finance the extensive renovation was first sent to an affiliated company in London, were rejected.
Profiti and Spina risk prison sentences of three to five years if convicted, under Vatican laws on conspiracy to commit a crime and misappropriation of funds.
The trial is the latest scandal to hit the Vatican and is seen as another indication of the stiff challenges Pope Francis faces in trying to clean up the Holy See and impose a simpler lifestyle on Church leaders.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None