Corruption in the court: Cardinal Bertone fingered

The latest scandal emerging from the Vatican’s Bambino de Jesu corruption trial has come from Italian contractor Gianantonio Bandera.

He told the Vatican tribunal that arrangements for remodeling Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s Vatican apartment were made by Bertone himself.

Bertone was the person who contacted his firm about the renovations, Bandera said.

Both Bertone and Bandera have been called to give evidence at the trial, which is investigating Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina’s misappropriation of US$500,000 from the Bambino de Jesu Children’s Hospital. They used the money to fund the renovation work on Bertone’s apartment.

Until their arrest, Profiti and Spina were senior officials at the hospital, which is sponsored by the Pope.

Part of the indictment is that Profiti and Spina diverted the money to help Bandera (who has not been charged in the case) because his companies were struggling financially.

Bandera told the tribunal the cardinal made the arrangements with him directly via a series of emails, without going through a bid process as would ordinarily be required.

He explained he and the cardinal had known each other since 1991 or 1992 when Bertone was the bishop of Vercelli in northern Italy.

Bandera also said he volunteered to build a discount into the costs.

He said the cardinal wanted a “very normal residence, with average accommodation” – although his private salon “is a bit larger than normal.”

On 22 September the judges heard from an official of the Government of the Vatican City State which normally handles construction projects on Vatican territory. They said personal involvement by a cardinal in selecting a firm was “anomalous.”

Bertone (who was Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s Secretary of State) has not been charged with any criminal activity. Nor has he ever been considered a suspect in this case.

At the request of defence lawyers, the Vatican tribunal has agreed to require testimony from two officials who had sought to avoid appearances: Mariella Enoc, the current head of the hospital foundation; and Tommasso Di Ruzza, the director of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority.


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