Finally, a Vatican scandal that doesn't involve molesting children! Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, and a former Italian Infrastructure and Transport Minister are being investigated for aggravated corruption in connection with shady real estate deals and multi-million euro kickbacks. Breathe easy, Pope.
Cardinal Sepe is accused of scumming around while head of the Vatican's real estate department, the Congregation for Evangelisation of People, which also funds the church's missions abroad. Sepe's partner in the alleged crimes, former minister Pietro Lunardi, is said to have approved funds for some of Sepe's restoration projects after Sepe sold him a building in Rome for far under market value. The Vatican issued a statement saying it hoped the investigation "could be cleared up fully and rapidly in order to eliminate any shadows, be they on the person (Sepe) or Church institutions."
This latest scandal broke open in February, when one of Cardinal Sepe's former construction consultants, Angelo Balducci, was arrested for running a muti-million euro public fund kickback scam. Balducci is now sitting in jail in Rome. As bad as this is, the Vatican must be breathing a collective sigh of relief that Sepe was not busted for touching young boys. Rejoice!
[Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe with Silvio Berlusconi, via AP]