UPDATE: The butler did it?
The butler, identified as Paolo Gabriele, 40, was held by gendarmes after a special commission of three top senior cardinals had been appointed by the Pope to identify the source of the leaks which have caused severe embarrassment.
Mr Gabriele, who has been at the Pope’s side for six years, is one of the German born pontiff’s closest members of his inner circle which totals just four lay people and four nuns and he is always at his side.
It is believed that Mr Gabriele, who is known by the nickname Paoletto (little Paul) was held as he arrived for work at the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace behind St Peter’s and on Friday he was being held in custody – the first time in years the Vatican jail had been used.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said a man had been detained with “documents in his possession” adding that he was not supposed to have them and he went on to describe him as “a lay person and not a member of the clergy”…
The Vatican police have arrested an individual in possession of private Vatican documents in connection to the so-called “VatiLeaks” scandal that began in January.
Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said: “This person now is being questioned by the Vatican magistrates for further information.” He declined to name the individual.
He told reporters that the Vatican gendarmes “identified a person illicitly in possession of private documents”. The committee of three cardinals Pope Benedict XVI appointed in April to look into the leaks had asked the gendarmes to investigate.
In response to questions, Fr Ciro Benedettini, assistant director of the Vatican press office, said the suspect was “under arrest”. However, he declined to say if or where the person was being held.
Dozens of private letters to Pope Benedict and other confidential Vatican correspondence and reports, including encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world, were leaked to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi. He published the documents in a book, Your Holiness, released last week.
In a statement two days later, Fr Lombardi called the publication of the letters for commercial gain a “criminal act” and said the Vatican would take legal action. The publication, he said, violated the right to privacy and the “freedom of correspondence” of Pope Benedict, the letter writers and the pope’s closest collaborators.
In the book’s introduction, Nuzzi said his main source for the texts said he was acting with a “small group” of Vatican insiders concerned about corruption and a thirst for power within the Vatican. According to the source, Nuzzi said, none of the people giving him documents knew who the others were.