World

Vatican sets trial for alleged misuse of hospital donations

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Tuesday will put Giuseppe Profiti, past president of the Vatican children’s hospital, and Massimo Spina, former hospital treasurer, on trial on charges that they diverted hospital donations to renovate a prominent cardinal’s retirement home.

The penthouse apartment in the Vatican gardens has a rooftop terrace with views of St. Peter’s Basilica and overlooks the hotel that Pope Francis calls home.

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The apartment, occupied by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, underwent at $480,000 renovation that was paid for from donations to the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital foundation, which raises money for sick children at the ‘‘pope’s hospital’’ in Rome.

An Associated Press investigation uncovered a secret 2014 Vatican inquiry that found that the hospital’s mission under its past administration had become ‘‘more aimed at profit’’ than patient care. The renovations at Bertone’s apartment sparked a criminal trial that shines a light on how some of that money was spent.

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The Vatican tribunal, based just a few steps away from the apartment, has warned that the two defendants would be tried in absentia if they don’t show up.

If found guilty of embezzlement, the two face between three to five years in prison and fines starting at $5,700. The penalty can be reduced if the amount diverted is repaid before the trial starts.

The scandal is the latest to strike the Holy See as Francis works to clean up centuries of shady business dealings.

Associated Press

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