Hospital funds allegedly pay for Cardinal’s apartment

Vatican prosecutors have charged the former president and the ex-treasurer of Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital with diverting money from the hospital’s fundraising foundation.

This is the first time the Vatican has publically announced a prosecution using measures introduced in 2009 to fight money-laundering and financial crime.

The two accused, Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina, are said to have diverted 422,000 euros (about NZ$660,000) from the hospital’s fundraising foundation to pay for renovations on Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s apartment.

It is said the money transfers from the hospital (often called ‘the pope’s hospital’) began in 2013 after Bertone retired from office as Vatican secretary of state.

Profiti has admitted to transferring the money. He says it was an investment so the foundation could use the apartment for fundraising events.

Profiti and Spina’s trial is set to begin before a Vatican tribunal this week. They could face prison sentences of three to five years if convicted.

As they are Italian citizens and not clergy, they could dispute the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

When the Vatican confirmed last year that Profiti and Spina were under investigation, Bertone’s lawyer said the 82-year old cardinal had “never asked for, nor authorized payment for the restoration work from hospital funds”.

No charges have been laid against Bertone.

However, he is said to have made a contribution of over NZ$230,000 to the hospital after a book was published in late 2015 detailing how much was spent on his apartment.

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News category: World.

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