World

Two Ex-Officials of Vatican-Run Hospital Charged with Misusing Money

ROME — Two former officials of a Vatican-owned children’s hospital were charged Thursday with misappropriating nearly a half-million dollars for the renovation of the luxurious apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s second in command under Pope Benedict XVI.

The officials — Giuseppe Profiti, the former president of the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, and Massimo Spina, its former treasurer — were ordered to stand trial in a Vatican court on July 18.

The indictments — with their indirect connection to Bertone, arguably the most powerful internal player during the last pontificate — were yet another sign of Pope Francis’ efforts to root out corruption in the church’s baroque bureaucracy.

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Francis, who has sought to embody his message of modesty in the Vatican by eschewing the option of living in the frescoed Apostolic Palace in favor of the simpler Santa Marta residence, has sought to increase financial transparency in a walled city-state not known for open business practices.

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This year, the Vatican announced an investigation into the misuse of 422,000 euros, or about $483,000, after revelations by Emiliano Fittipaldi, an Italian journalist and the author of the book “Greed.”

Bertone, who appointed Profiti, has not been charged in connection with the rerouted hospital funds, and the Vatican has said he is not under investigation. Francis removed the cardinal from power in 2013.

Bertone’s apartment renovation included high-tech sound systems and white Carrara marble.

New York Times