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Vatican advisers allegedly leaked sensitive church documents

By Doug G. Ware
Vatican advisers allegedly leaked sensitive church documents
Two Vatican advisers were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of leaking sensitive internal documents regarding Pope Francis' reported attempts to reform the Catholic church's finances. Photo by Stefano Spanziani/UPI | License Photo

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Two of Pope Francis' advisers were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of leaking sensitive internal documents pertaining to the pope's reformation of the Catholic church's finances, papal officials said.

The two arrested were senior Spanish priest Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, 54, and Italian public relations adviser Francesca Chaouqui, 33.

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News reports said the two were arrested for allegedly leaking the financial documents, which address Francis' attempts to reform the Catholic church's finances.

The Vatican confirmed the arrests in a news release Monday.

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The arrests came less than a week before the release of two potentially damaging books that detail the same issue -- "Avarice" by Emiliano Fittipaldi and "Via Crucis" by Gianluigi Nuzzi. Both are set to be released Thursday, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Last weekend's arrests follow a similar incident in 2012, known as the "Vatileaks" scandal, in which a personal assistant to Pope Benedict XVI leaked internal documents purporting to show behind-the-scenes power struggles in the church. The assistant was tried and convicted.

The publishers of both books said they still intend to release them Thursday despite potential legal action by the Vatican.

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"We haven't snatched anything from anyone," Lorenzo Fazio, editorial director of Nuzzi's Italian publisher, said. "This is the third book by Nuzzi on the Vatican, and he has always based his work on incontrovertible documents. Now he is ... sharing truths that cannot do anything but good for the need to reform expressed in many ways by Pope Francis."

The pair were arrested by Vatican police. Vallejo is the second-in-command of a papal economic affairs office.

Both Vallejo and Chaouqui face charges under a 2013 law, passed by the Vatican in response to the Vatileaks case, that makes it unlawful to disclose confidential papal documents or information.

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