Pope meets envoy at centre of Vatileaks furore
Carlo Maria Vigano' stolen correspondence sparked Vatileaks10 October, 20:07
(ANSA) - Vatican City, October 10 - In another sign that he is taking energetic steps to change the governance that at times seemed to baffle his predecessor, Pope Francis on Thursday conferred with the Vatican official whose allegations led to the Vatileaks scandal. There was no official statement after Francis received the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Carlo Maria Vigano', but Vatican watchers saw the talks as part of a shake-up including stopping cronyism and lobbies - including a gay one - and cleaning up the scandal-plagued Vatican Bank, IOR. Vigano' was formerly the second-ranked administrator to Pope Benedict XVI, serving as secretary-general of the governatorate of Vatican City State from July 2009 to September 2011.
In letters to Benedict XVI and to Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, Vigano' begged not to be transferred to the US for blowing the whistle on alleged corruption that may have cost the Vatican millions of euros in inflated procurement contracts.
Vigano's correspondence was stolen and leaked to the press by Benedict XVI's butler, Paolo Gabriele, giving rise to the Vatileaks scandal that reverberated around the world amid a media feeding frenzy.
The Vatican court sentenced Gabriele to 18 months in prison for theft in October 2012. Pope Benedict XVI pardoned the former butler in December 2012.
Also on Thursday, a Vatican prelate arrested earlier this year for alleged involvement in a bid to bring 20 million euros of laundered money back into Italy illegally said in an interview that he feared he would be poisoned for his revelations to investigators. ''I have told of episodes that could put me in danger. I am trying to be stronger than the fear and nightmares that torment me, but despite my prayers, I am certain that I will die by poisoning,'' Nunzio Scarano told the newspaper Libero in an interview conducted through Scarano's lawyer Alba D'Antonio.
Scarano led a key Vatican accounting unit until a month prior to his June arrest in a probe over allegations he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker to try to secretly repatriate the massive sum of cash, allegedly the fruit of tax evasion by a family close to the prelate.
The prelate, from the port city of Salerno near Naples, had been suspended before his arrest from his job as head of analytic accounts at the Holy See's asset-management agency APSA - linked to IOR - after being named in a separate probe into receiving money in Salerno.
Scarano is currently being held in a hospital.
In the interview, Scarano characterized himself as ''the scapegoat of a number of powerful Vatican (figures) against whom the pope, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is already taking wise decisions''. Scarano called on Pope Francis to hear him ''at least once'' before judging and condemning him.
''His words against me have pained me deeply,'' Scarano said after the pope said in July that he was hurt by the case and suggested he thought the prelate was guilty.
Regarding nearly three million euros found in his bank accounts, Scarano said: ''they are donations and savings of 40 years of work and priestly ministry''.
Scarano called the funds ''savings carefully treasured to carry out my final wish - a home for the sick''.