25 May 2016
Catholic News Service
Vatileaks: Investigator says consultant admitted leaking documents
Francesca Chaouqui is on trial for divulging documents concerning fundamental interests of the Holy See
A former consultant to a pontifical commission who denied to a Vatican court that she leaked documents about the Vatican's financial reform to an Italian journalist, had admitted to sending the documents when she was first interrogated, a Vatican policeman said.
Stefano DeSantis, an officer investigating the leaking of the documents, testified yesterday (24 May) that Francesca Chaouqui told Vatican police officials that she sent documents regarding the Vatican Asset Management (VAM) to Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of ‘Merchants in the Temple’, a book exposing the challenges Pope Francis has faced trying to reform the Curia.
"We never assumed that she gave the documents,” DeSantis told the court, “she admitted to it".
Chaouqui is on trial, along with Msgr Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and Nicola Maio, the monsignor's former assistant, for "committing several illegal acts of divulging news and documents concerning fundamental interests of the Holy See and (Vatican City) State".
Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, author of ‘Avarice’, are accused of "soliciting and exercising pressure, especially on (Msgr) Vallejo Balda," to obtain the documents.
The trial session yesterday began with the cross-examination of Gianluca Gauzzi, deputy commissioner of the Vatican police, by the defendants' lawyers regarding his testimony given 16 May.
Gauzzi revealed the contents found on two iPhones and a Macbook Pro belonging to Msgr Vallejo Balda. In some of the messages found on the monsignor's devices, Gauzzi said, "Chaouqui asked Msgr Vallejo to use WhatsApp because she believed it was a secure and tap-proof messaging system".
When asked by Chaouqui's lawyer about the examination of the chats between her client and Msgr Balda, Gauzzi stated that the police saw the message exchange on the Spanish monsignor's phone.
Chaouqui, he added, deleted the messaging application from her phone before handing it over to the Vatican's IT experts as part of the investigation.
The police, however, are certain the messages were between Msgr Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui, Gauzzi said.
Regarding Chaouqui's initial confession of sending Nuzzi the documents, DeSantis told the court that she exhibited "exemplary behavior" when she gave the Vatican police her formal statement and even made clarifications or specifications in her formal declaration.
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