Priest, woman accomplice found guilty in Vatileaks II trial

A priest is facing jail time and a woman accomplice has been given a suspended sentence at the conclusion of the “Vatileaks II” trial.

A Vatican court acquitted two Italian journalists whose books contained material from leaked confidential financial documents.

The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi.

But Msgr Lucio Vallejo Balda will get an 18 month prison sentence for leaking documents.

Francesca Chaouqui was given a 10 month suspended sentence.

The court decided her role was one of encouraging the leaks.

Prosecutors had earlier described her as the instigator of the leaks and had recommended a long jail sentence.

Msgr Balda’s secretary, Nicola Maio, was acquitted at the conclusion of the trial which started last November.

The five defendants were being tried under a new law created by Pope Francis to criminalise leaking.

Breaking this law carries a maximum eight-year prison sentence.

Both Ms Chaouqui and Msgr Balda had been appointed by Pope Francis to serve on a high-level commission to overhaul the Vatican’s finances.

Nuzzi’s book, Merchants in the Temple, and Fittipaldi’s book, Avarice, focused on the irregularities uncovered by the commission.

Widespread financial mismanagement inside the Holy See was revealed.

Also revealed were embarrassing details about the canonisation process, which costs up to €500,000 and the size of cardinals’ apartments.

Msgr Balda, who has been under house arrest, is likely to serve his sentence in one of the handful of the Vatican’s prison cells.

It has been speculated, however, that the Pope might pardon him during the Year of Mercy.


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