The Vatican’s own police force has arrested a monsignor and a laywoman in its latest probe into the leak of confidential documents. The Vatican said both people were members of the commission established on Pope Francis’ order to investigate the Church’s finances. They were being held on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to the media. A statement released by the Vatican identified the suspects as Spanish priest Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui. Chaouqui was released Monday, the statement said, and was “cooperating with the investigation. Balda remained in custody. The arrests took place over the weekend but only became common public knowledge on Monday, two days before the slated release of a pair of new books touting new revelations of past misdeeds at the Vatican.
As part of criminal investigations carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie, which have been underway for several months, regarding the unauthorized removal and sharing of confidential documents, two people were summoned for questioning this past Saturday and Sunday [Oct. 31 and Nov. 1] on the basis of the evidence gathered and the indications thereof. The two persons were the cleric, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, and Dr. Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of the COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate. Following the results of the interrogation these two people were held under arrest in view of the continuation of the investigation. Today [Monday] the Office of the Promoter of Justice [the Vatican prosecutor] has, in the persons of Prof. Adv. Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Prof. Avv. Roberto Zannotti, Adjunct Promoter of Justice, confirmed the arrest of the aforesaid. The Promotor of Justice has taken the further step of releasing Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were seen no evident reasons to keep her in custody, and also in view of her cooperation with the investigation. The position of Msgr. Vallejo Balda remains under consideration of the Office of the Promoter of Justice. It must be remembered that divulging confidential documents is a crime under the criminal code of the Vatican City State (Law IX, art. 10 and art. 116 bis c.p. – passed 13 July, 2013) As for the books announced for the next few days it should be said clearly once again on this occasion as in the past, that they are the result of a serious betrayal of the trust placed in certain individuals by the Pope, and, as far as the authors are concerned, of an operation to draw advantage from a gravely unlawful act, i.e. the delivery of confidential documents, an operation, the legal and possibly penal implications of which are currently the object of study in view of possible further measures by the Prosecutor’s Office, which will resort, if necessary, to international cooperation. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to the establishment of clarity and truth, but rather to the creation of confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must absolutely avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope.