27 May 2012

Pope's butler charged in Vatican leak inquiry

10:39 am on 27 May 2012

Vatican police have formally charged Pope Benedict's butler in a case concerning the theft of confidential documents.

The authorities are investigating how Italian newspapers obtained documents describing power struggles within the Catholic Church and revealing alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Vatican magistrates have named 46-year-old Paolo Gabriele as the suspect in their investigation, saying he illegally took confidential documents, the BBC reports.

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI set up a special commission of cardinals to find the source of the confidential memos.

Mr Gabriele is the pope's personal butler and assistant 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 Vatican's judge has been instructed to examine the evidence of the case and decide whether there is sufficient material to proceed to trial.