Vatican prosecutors have indicted the former president and the ex-treasurer of a Vatican-owned children’s hospital for allegedly diverting money from a hospital foundation to pay for renovations on a cardinal’s flat.
The indictment ordered Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina to stand trial at a Vatican tribunal. It accused the pair of using €422,000 (£371,000) from the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital’s fundraising foundation to pay for renovations on Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s flat after he retired as Vatican Secretary of State.
Mr Profiti, whose administration was the subject of a recent AP investigation into care problems at the hospital, has admitted to the payment but said it was an investment so that the foundation could use the flat for fundraising events.
Cardinal Bertone, who had appointed Mr Profiti president of the hospital in 2008, denied knowledge of the payment and said he had actually paid for the renovations out of his own pocket, suggesting the construction company was paid twice.
Mr Profiti resigned as president of Bambino Gesù in January 2015, nine months into a new three-year term. According to the AP investigation, a secret Vatican-authorised task force had reported in 2014 that under his administration, the mission of the pope’s hospital had been “lost” and was “today more aimed at profit than on caring for children”.
The AP investigation found that children sometimes paid the price as the hospital expanded its services and tried to cut costs, with overcrowding and poor hygiene contributing to deadly infection, including one 21-month superbug outbreak that killed eight children. The hospital has called the AP report a “hoax” and denied problems.
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