By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — 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 May 24 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.”
“We never assumed that she gave the documents, she
admitted to it,” DeSantis told the court.
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)
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 May 24 began
with the cross-examination of Gianluca Gauzzi, deputy commissioner of the
Vatican police, by the defendants’ lawyers regarding his testimony May 16.
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 Laura Sgro,
Chaouqui’s lawyer, about the examination of the chats between Chaouqui and Msgr.
Vallejo Balda, Gauzzi stated that the police saw the message exchange on the Spanish
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.
However, because WhatsApp
is connected to a person’s phone number, the police are certain the messages
were between Msgr. Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui even though she deleted the app from
her phone, Gauzzi said.
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
MORE TO COME
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