In a "memorandum" published today in Rome daily La Repubblica, Spanish monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, one of five defendants in the ongoing Vatileaks 2 trial charged with stealing confidential documents from the Holy See, admits that he had sex with another defendant, Vatican lay consultant Francesca Chaouqui.
In the memorandum, which was written for his lawyer in early November, just after his arrest by the Vatican gendarmerie, 54-year-old Msgr Balda claims that Ms Chaouqui seduced him in Florence last Christmas.
“For me to talk about Francesca is very painful,” he wrote “I was ashamed of what I had done with her and when I was leaking the documents, I kept on thinking of the scandal if it all came to light . . . She told me that she worked for Italian secret services and that her marriage with Corrado Lanino was simply a cover. She even sent me photos of Corrado with another woman, his real wife.”
Ms Chaouqui (33) had been introduced to Msgr Balda in early 2013 by 73-year-old French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Following that introduction, Ms Chaouqui was appointed by Pope Francis to COSEA, a short-term Vatican economic reform commission, largely on the recommendation of Msgr Balda who had already been appointed.
Nearly all of the confidential documents revealed in two current bestsellers by journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi are COSEA documents. Both journalists are also on trial in Vatileaks 2.
Msgr Balda claims that after their night together in Florence, he tried to distance himself from Ms Chaouqui. He claims that she regularly attended parties at the Rome residence of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Asked about the accusations, Ms Chaouqui told La Repubblica that she would sue his lawyer for leaking the memorandum, adding: "From what I know of Balda, the last thing he wants to do is go to bed with me. As for me, I am someone who knows millionaires and emirs. If I wanted to betray my husband, I wouldn't do it with an old priest who does not like women."
Meanwhile, at a hearing yesterday, the case was adjourned until December 7th to allow Ms Chaouqui’s lawyer time to prepare her defence.