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Pope's butler to stay in Vatican cells

Paolo Gabriele arrested last month following document leaks

26 June, 13:50
Pope's butler to stay in Vatican cells (ANSA) - Vatican City, June 26 - Pope Benedict XVI's butler is set to remain in a cell inside the Vatican after being arrested last month for being in possession of sensitive Church documents, the Holy See's spokesman said on Tuesday.

The spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, added that Vatican prosecutors had not set dates for more questioning of Paolo Gabriele for the moment.

Gabriele was arrested on May 25 for allegedly being in possession of illegally obtained documents linked to the so-called 'Vatileaks' scandal regarding the leaking of confidential Catholic Church papers to the Italian press earlier this year.

The documents included letters to the pope and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano', who was the deputy governor of Vatican City when they were written.

The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City.

The Vatican has denied speculation that there are suspicions senior clergymen, including a cardinal, are suspected of involvement in the leaks and blasted media coverage of the affair.

Bertone accused journalists of playing at being Dan Brown, saying they were guilty of "inventing tales and peddling legends" in an interview with Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana.

Bertone also said Benedict was baffled at why his butler Paolo Gabriele ended up being involved.

"The pope has asked himself many times, with distress, for an explanation about the motive for the gesture of Paolo Gabriele, who he loved like a son," Bertone said.

photo: Paolo Gabriele with Pope Benedict XVI.