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Vatican tribunal rejects move to dismiss embezzlement charges against hospital executives

July 18, 2017

The trial of two former executives of a Vatican-owned hospital on embezzlement charges began today, with a Vatican tribunal rejecting a motion by the two defendants to dismiss the case.

Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina—the former president and treasurer, respectively of the Bambino Gesu Hospital—are charged with improperly taking over €400,000 from the hospital’s foundation to pay for renovations on the apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was then the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

At the first hearing on the charges, on July 18, a Vatican tribunal heard arguments that the court did not have jurisdiction because the two defendants are Italian citizens, not directly subject to Vatican law. Paolo Papanti-Pellettier, the president of the tribunal, rejected that motion.

Spina’s lawyer argued that his client could not be held responsible for the transfer of funds because he was only carrying out instructions. That argument suggests that as the trial continues, Spina could call Cardinal Bertone to testify. The cardinal—who has said that he was not aware that the foundation had paid for repairs in his apartment—is not a defendant in this case.

The two former hospital executives are the first individuals to be prosecuted under the Vatican’s new laws governing financial accountability. They were indicted shortly after the publication of an investigative report by the Associated Press that exposed evidence of mismanagement and substandard medical care at Bambino Gesu under Profiti’s leadership. Profiti resigned as president in 2015; Vatican officers says that problems at the hospital have been addressed.

The tribunal set court dates of September 7, 8, and 9 for the continuation of the case.

 
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  • Posted by: balderdash - Jul. 19, 2017 5:35 PM ET USA

    Something smells. The trial case needs to proceed.