Corruption scandal shakes Vatican as internal letters leaked
REUTERS VATICAN CITY THE Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal on Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.
The show “The Untouchables” on the respected private television network La 7 on Wednesday night showed what it said were several letters that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was then deputy-governor of Vatican City, sent to superiors, including Pope Benedict, in 2011 about the corruption.
The Vatican issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the “methods” used in the journalistic investigation. But it confirmed that the letters were authentic by expressing “sadness over the publication of reserved documents.” As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two officials in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny citystate’s gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure.
Vigano, currently the Vatican’s ambassador in Washington, said in the letters that when he took the job in 2009 he discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.
In one letter, Vigano tells the pope of a smear campaign against him (Vigano) by other Vatican officials who wanted him transferred because they were upset that he had taken drastic steps to save the Vatican money by cleaning up its procedures.
“Holy Father, my transfer right now would provoke much disorientation and discouragement in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments,” Vigano wrote to the pope on March 27, 2011. In another letter to the pope on April 4, 2011, Vigano says he discovered the management of some Vatican City investments was entrusted to two funds managed by a committee of Italian bankers “who looked after their own interests more than ours.” Vigano says in the same letter that in one single financial transaction in December, 2009, “they made us lose two and a half million dollars.” The programme interviewed a man it identified as a member of the bankers’ committee who said Vigano had developed a reputation as a “ballbreaker” among companies that had contracts with the Vatican, because of his insistence on transparency and competition.