The Vatican said Monday it had arrested two members of a commission set up by Pope Francis to review Church reforms. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a Spanish priest, and Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman, were taken into custody over the weekend on suspicion of leaking confidential documents at the Holy See, according to Reuters.
The two were interrogated over the weekend and Chaouqui was released on her own recognizance after she agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Balda remained in custody in a jail cell in Vatican City, a statement released by the Vatican’s press office said Monday.
"In the context of judicial police investigations carried out by the Vatican gendarmerie, or police force, and begun several months ago because of the removal and lead of confidential information and documents, on Saturday and Sunday (the) two persons were summoned to be interrogated on the basis of elements and evidence that had been gathered," the Vatican statement said, according to the Associated Press
Balda and Chaouqui were members of COSEA, or the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, which was established on Pope Francis’ order to investigate the Vatican’s finances. The leaked documents are allegedly from COSEA archives.
The arrests happened days before two Italian authors were slated to publish books that are expected to disclose new revelations of past scandals at the Vatican. "Regarding the two books in the next days, we clearly state that this time, as in the past, they are the result of 'a grave betrayal of the Pope's trust,'" the Vatican said in the statement released Monday, according to CBS News.
The Vatican added that the books’ authors had taken advantage “of a grave illegal act of the delivery of reserved documents” and the potentially criminal consequences would be “studied by the Vatican prosecutor as regards possible further measures.”