Vatican to Try Five People Accused of Leaking Confidential Documents

The Vatican has charged five people over the leaking of confidential documents concerning financial reform of the curia.

In a statement released today, the Vatican said the Court of Vatican City State had summoned Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immaculate Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, Emiliano Fittipaldi, and Gianluigi Nuzzi to attend preliminary hearings beginning on the morning of Nov. 24.

The defendants are accused of “wrongful disclosure of information and confidential documents”.

Spanish Msgr. Vallejo and Italian PR expert Francesca Chaouqui were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of leaking the documents. Journalists Nuzzi and Fittipaldi were questioned after they published books containing leaked information. 

Msgr. Vallejo and Chaouqui were both members of COSEA, a special commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on economic reform within the Vatican. Maio worked as secretary to Msgr. Vallejo Balda on the commission which was disbanded to make way for the new Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

Fittipaldi said he was shocked by the Vatican’s move. “Maybe I’m naive but I believed they would investigate those I denounced for criminal activity, not the person that revealed the crimes,” he told Italy’s ANSA news agency.

Chaouqui was released shortly after her arrest for assisting with investigations, but Msgr. Vallejo is still being held in custody in a Vatican jail.

The Vatican statement gives details of which Vatican penal laws the defendants are accused of infringing. It says Msgr. Vallejo, Chaouqui, and Maio are charged with criminal conspiracy “to divulge information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the [Vatican City] State”, while all five defendants are charged with criminal misappropriation and misuse of Vatican documents.