Vatican backs cardinal named in graft probe

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe has been linked to several shady property deals.

Updated: Jul 01, 2010, 15:55 PM IST

Vatican City: The Vatican has expressed its "respect and solidarity" with a cardinal who has been named in a graft probe in Italy.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, led the Vatican`s office which funds missionary work abroad and has been linked to several shady property deals involving a former government minister.

"We reiterate `respect and solidarity`, in the certainty that his correct conduct may lead to a complete and rapid clarification of the judicial proceedings," the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday.

Italian media reported earlier this month that Sepe was due to be questioned by investigators over the alleged deals, made while he was head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Sepe has said he will waive his immunity as a Vatican diplomatic passport holder and co-operate with the investigation.

The corruption probe focuses on a number of senior officials in Rome and has shaken the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi`s centre-right government.