The Latest: Vatican court convicts ex-hospital president
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Vatican’s trial over diverted hospital donations (all times local):
A Vatican court has convicted the former president of the pope’s children’s hospital of abuse of office for diverting $500,000 in donations to renovate a cardinal’s flat and sentenced him to a suspended one-year sentence.
The court on Saturday absolved the former treasurer of the Bambino Gesu children’s hospital. The case was notable in that neither the cardinal who benefited from the renovation nor the contractor who was apparently paid twice for doing the work was put on trial.
The original charges against ex-hospital president Giuseppe Profiti had been embezzlement. But the court convicted him of the lesser offense of abuse of office.
The lawyer for the former president of the Vatican’s children’s hospital has told a Vatican court that no crime was committed when his client used money from the hospital’s fundraising foundation to renovate a cardinal’s apartment.
Attorney Antonello Blasi said the 422,000 euros ($500,000) taken from donations to the foundation were “an investment, not an expenditure.” He said his client, Giuseppe Profiti, intended to use the apartment for future hospital fundraising events.
The trial entered its final day Saturday with the defense giving its closing arguments and the three-judge panel beginning deliberations.
Profiti faces up to three years and a 5,000-euro ($5,910) fine if found guilty of embezzlement. In his final remarks, Profiti said the only reason the investment didn’t work out was because the hospital’s new administration had a “new style of fundraising.”
The Vatican trial over $500,000 in donations to the pope’s pediatric hospital that were diverted to renovate a cardinal’s penthouse is reaching its conclusion, with neither the cardinal who benefited nor the contractor who was apparently paid twice for the work facing trial.
Instead, the former president of the Bambino Gesu children’s hospital and his ex-treasurer are accused of misappropriating 422,000 euros from the hospital’s fundraising foundation to overhaul the retirement home of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state under Pope Benedict XVI.
Prosecutors have asked for a guilty verdict, a three-year prison term and a fine of 5,000 euros ($5,910) for the ex-president, Giuseppe Profiti. They asked to shelve the case against the ex-treasurer, Massimo Spina, for lack of evidence.