Vatican whistleblower warns he is not alone in fighting corruption

Whistleblower charged with leaking sensitive figures says 20 others are doing the same

Milan

At least 20 whistleblowers are seeking to expose corruption and incompetence at the Vatican, according to the man who is to stand trial at the Holy See this autumn accused of stealing sensitive documents and leaking them to the press.

Paolo Gabriele, a 46-year-old papal butler who has three children, has been indicted for theft after investigators searching his quarters located some of the documents whose contents had found their way on to the front pages of Italian newspapers.

They included reports on the Vatican's tax affairs and one document that suggested Pope Benedict's new ambassador in Washington was exiled in the US because he had blown the whistle on financial corruption.

Despite the widespread belief that Mr Gabriele was a pawn in a larger conspiracy, only one other person, Claudio Sciarpelletti, a 48-year-old Vatican computer expert, has been indicted so far for the "Vatileaks" scandal. He is accused of aiding and abetting Mr Gabriele. But last night on the national La7 TV channel in an interview recorded before his arrest, Mr Gabriele, who had his face covered, said: "The people, who like me, want to help bring some transparency number at least 20."

The Vatican has previously denied rumours that a further 20 people are under investigation in the case. The TV interview was conducted by the journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who has already made damaging revelations about the Holy City this year in a series of TV programmes and in his new book Sua Santita (Your Holiness).

The defence lawyer, Carlo Fusco, appeared to admit Mr Gabriele's guilt in July when he claimed his client had only acted out of love for the Pope. Since then, Mr Fusco has quit as Mr Gabriele's main counsel, citing "differences on the line of defence" with other members of the team.

The trial date will be decided at the end of this month. A November start is considered likely to prevent proceedings from diverting attention from October celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Mr Gabriele and Mr Sciarpelletti are expected to be tried together.

If found guilty Mr Gabriele could be sent to prison for up to six years. But some commentators have suggested he might be given a papal pardon. "That would play perfectly with the narrative the Vatican is trying to craft," Robert Mickens, The Tablet's Rome correspondent, said. "Instead of Pope Benedict as an evil old man, we'd see Benedict the merciful and kind."

Mr Gabriele has said he was acting out of love for the church. But in his TV interview he also said the growing gap between Vatican hawks and reformers had created an atmosphere in which people were afraid to speak out.

In his TV interview, Mr Gabriel said: "The Pope wants to clean up, but he is having difficulties." And adding to the intrigue, he said: "Ours is a state (Vatican City) where you can get in, kill and leave undisturbed, and after 24 hours no one can say what happened."

Vatican prosecutor Nicola Picardi has dismissed claims of a major conspiracy or conflict between power brokers behind Vatican walls. In his indictment against Mr Gabriele he claimed the former butler was erroneously "seeing evil and corruption everywhere".

The Italian press says the damaging leaks have been designed to undermine the Vatican No 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's right-hand man, under criticism for his handling of the foreign relations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower