26 May 2012

Vatican makes arrest in leak investigation

9:14 am on 26 May 2012

Vatican police have arrested a man, reported to be the Pope's butler, in connection with the theft of confidential documents including letters from the Pope's private study.

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI set up a special commission of cardinals to investigate leaks from the Vatican that revealed alleged corruption, mismanagement and internal conflicts, the BBC reports.

Italian media have named the arrested man as Paolo Gabriele, a personal butler and assistant to the Pope and one of very few laymen to have access to the Pope's private apartments.

The media reports said a stash of confidential documents had been discovered at his flat, within the walls of the Vatican.

The butler is one of a select number allowed to enter the Pope's private study which also include four nuns and two secretaries.

The Vatican said the person detained was being questioned by Vatican magistrates.

The news of the arrest comes just a day after the president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted by its board.

The Vatican has said the reason for his departure was his failure to fulfil the primary functions of his office but according to reports he was also suspected of being involved in the leaking of the documents.

Mr Tedeschi said he had been punished for his attempt to make the bank more open.