12 November 2015
Christopher Lamb in Rome
Two journalists who wrote Vatileaks II books are under criminal investigation, says Vatican
The Vatican has announced a criminal investigation into two journalists who have written books based on leaked documents relating to the the Holy See’s finances.
A statement from Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said the Vatican's police force and reported the activities of Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi to the city state’s prosecutors over “their possible participation in the crime of dissemination of news and confidential documents”.
Nuzzi and Fittipaldi published books last week which included documents relating to a 2013 commission (COSEA) set up by Pope Francis to overhaul Vatican finances.
There is an ongoing Vatican investigation into the leaks with two individuals who sat on COSEA - Mgr Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui - questioned over them.
In his statement Fr Lombardi said the prosecutor had “acquired evidence indicating involvement in the offense by the two journalists who are now under investigation.”
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It continued: “They are being examined by the investigators as well as the positions of other persons, who by reasons associated with their office, cooperated in the acquisition of the confidential documents in question.”
On Sunday Pope Francis used his angelus address to describe the leaking of the documents as a “crime” and a “deplorable act that does not help us.”
The leaks reveal embarrassing details of financial mismanagement which the Pope was faced with soon after his election. Since that time, however, Francis has instituted sweeping reforms to the economic management of the Holy See.
Nuzzi and Fittipaldi are being investigated for a possible breach of Law n.IX of the Vatican’s criminal code, a piece of legislation the Pope instituted in 2013.
It states: “whoever illicitly obtains or reveals information or documents whose disclosure is forbidden, is punished with six months to two years imprisonment or with a fine ranging from €1,000 to €5,000. If the object of the offence consists of information or documents concerning the fundamental interests or the diplomatic relations of the Holy See or the State, the penalty shall be of four to eight years imprisonment.
"If the conduct referred to in the preceding paragraph is committed due to criminal negligence, the penalty shall be of six months to two years imprisonment.”
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