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Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin called to give evidence at high-profile trial

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Cardinal Pietro Parolin Photo: EPA/GIORGIO ONORATI

Cardinal Pietro Parolin was called as a witness by lawyers for Francesca Chaouqui, one of five people who are being tried by the Pope’s judges over the leaked papers.

Francesca Chaouqui is photographed as she arrives at the Vatican for her trial,Francesca Chaouqui arrives at the Vatican for her trial  Photo: AP/Riccardo De Luca

A public relations expert who was appointed to a special commission tasked with overhauling the Holy See’s finances, she has denied leaking documents to two Italian journalists who published them in recent best-selling books.

The books revealed mismanagement, waste and extravagant spending by cardinals as well as the extent of the resistance to Pope Francis’ drive for greater accountability and transparency.

Judges in the Vatican tribunal agreed to the request to call Cardinal Parolin as a witness, along with two of the Pope’s closest confidantes.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski is the Vatican’s chief alms-giver and has organised the Pope’s many charitable initiatives, such as providing showers for homeless people in a lavatory block on St Peter’s Square.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, an old friend of the Argentinean pontiff, was appointed last year as head of the commission overseeing the scandal-hit Vatican bank.