Catholic World News

Embezzlement charges against two former officials of Vatican-run hospital

July 13, 2017

The Vatican has indicted two former officials of the Bambino Gesu Hospital on embezzlement charges.

The indictment is the first brought by Vatican prosecutors under new rules designed to promote transparency and accountability in Vatican financial transactions. The Vatican has been under pressure from European banking authorities to prosecute violations of these rules.

Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina—who were the president and treasurer, respectively, of the Bambino Gesu Foundation— were summoned to appear before a Vatican tribunal for a July 18 hearing on the charges. Although the summons was issued on June 16, the indictment was announced on July 13.

The two former officials of the foundation connected with the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital are charged with improperly spending more than €400,000 in foundation funds on the renovation of an apartment owned by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. In the past, Profiti has said that the expenses were justified because the cardinal’s apartment was used for the foundation’s fundraising events.

Cardinal Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, in not included among those charged. The cardinal has said that he was not aware that foundation funds were used for the renovations. While he has denied any wrongdoing, in 2015 he made a €150,000 donation to the hospital.

The indictment poses a test case for the Vatican’s new financial regulations. Although European banking regulators have applauded the Vatican’s new rules, they have also made the pointed observation that, until now, no one had been prosecuted for violating the tough new financial regulations.

The case could also test the Vatican’s ability to prosecute individuals who are not directly subject to the Vatican city-state. Profiti and Spina could argue that, as Italian citizens, they are not subject to the jurisdiction of Vatican courts.

The indictment comes just a week after an Associated Press investigative report found that an earlier Vatican investigation had uncovered evidence of serious mismanagement at the Bambino Gesu Hospital in the past year. Vatican officials said that the report had been exaggerated, and the existing problems had been addressed by new hospital administrators.

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  • Posted by: unum - Jul. 14, 2017 9:52 AM ET USA

    How can the Vatican "lead" our Church when it cannot "lead" itself. Pope Francis was told from many sources about the need for reform of the Vatican. However, he has failed to take the action required to clean up the mess. And Jesus wept ...

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Jul. 14, 2017 7:12 AM ET USA

    Indictment? But shouldn't "mercy" be shown to these men? Shouldn't they be "accompanied"? Shouldn't they be met "where they are"? What about "dialogue"? Anyway, if they're "at peace with God," then isn't their embezzlement okay?