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© Alessandro Bianchi
The Vatican capped a months-long investigation into internal leaks to the media by arresting two high-profile officials over the weekend, just days before the publication of a pair of books promising incendiary revelations about the Holy See.

“The leaking of confidential information and documents is a crime,”said a communiqué from the Vatican, which has its own police force and legal system.

 

Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda © infovaticana.com

Monsignor Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda, a member of the Curia, the Catholic Church’s de-facto central government, was arrested along with 33-year-old Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman who had previously worked as a corporate lobbyist and public relations specialist. Vallejo Balda served as the secretary of COSEA, a special taskforce assembled by Pope Francis in 2013 to make the Vatican’s opaque financial practices more transparent, and Chaouqui had been invited to join the group by the Monsignor.

 

© @FrancescaChaouq

Chaouqui, who has previously attracted controversy for posting nude photos of herself and making anti-Vatican comments on social media, has since been released, with a communiqué saying there was no evidence with which to indict her, and that she had agreed to co-operate with the investigation. Vallejo Balda, a 54-year-old Spaniard, remains in custody.

 

 

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