(Vatican Radio) The first hearing by the Vatican tribunal of a case against two former officials of the 'Bambino Gesù' children’s hospital took place on Tuesday. The hospital, Europe’s largest paediatric research centre, is owned by the Vatican and often referred to as ‘the Pope’s hospital’.
Former president of the 'Bambino Gesù' foundation, Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer, Massimo Spina, are charged with illicitly using money to renovate an apartment belonging to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican secretary of state. They stand accused of paying over 422.000 euros of hospital funds to Gianantonio Bandera, owner of the Castelli Re construction company.
During the morning hearing, tribunal president Paolo Papanti-Pellettier rejected the defence lawyers’ claims that the Vatican has no jurisdiction over activities related to the hospital, which is located on Italian territory. He also rejected a request for journalists to be moved out of the courtroom.
The tribunal heard a further objection by Massimo Spina’s lawyer that his client did not have any authority to transfer funds from the hospital foundation, but only to carry out orders from his superiors. In this context, the lawyer quoted a letter from Cardinal Bertone, but did not disclose the contents of the message.
The session closed with a decision for the next hearings to be held on September 7th, 8th and 9th.