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Vatican confirms: It's the butler who did it

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP):

The Vatican confirmed yesterday, what has already been widely speculated, that the pope's butler had been arrested in its embarrassing leaks scandal.

Paolo Gabriele, a layman who lives inside Vatican City, was arrested last Wednesday with secret documents in his possession, the Vatican spokesman the Reverend Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Gabriele is often seen by Pope Benedict XVI's side in public, riding in the front seat of his open-air jeep during Wednesday general audiences or shielding the pontiff from the rain.

He has been the Pope's personal butler since 2006, one of the few members of the small papal household that also includes the pontiff's private secretaries and four consecrated women who care for the papal apartment.

Lombardi said Gabriele had two lawyers representing him as the Vatican judicial system takes its investigative course.

The 'Vatileaks' scandal has seriously embarrassed the Vatican at a time in which it is trying to show the world financial community that it has turned a page and shed its reputation as a scandal-plagued tax haven.

Vatican documents leaked to the press in recent months have undermined that effort, alleging corruption in Vatican finance as well as internal bickering over the Holy See's efforts to show more transparency in its financial operations.