Vatican usher named in prostitution case

March 5, 2010 at 1:10 PM

VATICAN CITY, March 5 (UPI) -- Authorities allege a Nigerian man who serves as a ceremonial usher for Pope Benedict XVI was tied to a male prostitution ring in Italy.

The Daily Telegraph (Britain) said Friday that Ghinedu Ehiem, who is also a St Peter's Basilica choir member, can allegedly be heard in wiretaps attempting to obtain male prostitutes.

Authorities obtained the wiretaps as part of a corruption probe that resulted in the arrests of four individuals, including engineer Angelo Balducci.

Balducci, who allegedly spoke with Ehiem in the wiretapped conversation, serves as a construction consultant to the Vatican, the Telegraph said.

The New York Times, citing a report by Italy's ANSA news agency, said news of Ehiem's alleged involvement with prostitution resulted in the usher being removed from his Vatican post.

Vatican sources reportedly said Ehiem had served as part of the usher group, The Gentlemen of His Holiness, that serve visiting dignitaries at the Apostolic Palace.

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