Catholic World News

Former Vatican official admits leaking documents

March 15, 2016

A suspended Vatican official admitted that he had provided confidential documents to Italian journalists, as the "Vatileaks II" trial continued on March 14.

"Yes, I handed over documents," acknowledged Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, the former secretary of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs. He said that he provided some documents, and passwords allowing reporters to gain access to hundreds of other documents. Those documents formed the basis for books published by two Italian journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianlugi Nuzzi; both are also defendants in the current Vatican trial.

Msgr. Vallejo Balda told the Vatican tribunal that he was manipulated into releasing the documents by another defendant, Francesca Chaouqui, who served with him on a special papal commission formed to assess the Vatican's financial affairs. He said that Chaouqui had manuevered him into a compromising position by sexual overtures and by claiming to be working with intelligence agencies. Chaouqui has denied these charges.

During its March 14 session, the Vatican court was presented with a letter from Chaouqui to Pope Francis, in which the defendant asked to be released from the "pontifical secret" binding her to silence about her work. The court noted that Pope Francis had not replied to that request. 

Msgr. Vallejo Balda, who had been serving under house arrest in the Vatican since December, was recently returned to a holding cell, after Vatican officials charged that he had violated the terms of his house arrest, specifically "a ban on communicating with the outside world." Italian journalists said that he had been using a cell phone that had been smuggled into his residence. 

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