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Vatican Places Two Journalists Under Investigation

The two Italian journalists who published books last week detailing corruption and uncontrolled spending by the Vatican have been placed under investigation. The Vatican bank, previously called the institute for Works of Religion, is shown circa 2011.

The Vatican said Wednesday it has widened an investigation into leaked documents that revealed waste, greed and mismanagement at the highest levels of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

The probe comes after Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi published two books last week detailing corruption and uncontrolled spending by the Vatican, substantiating their revelations with documents leaked from within the Holy See.

Nuzzi and Fittipaldi have been placed under investigation by Vatican magistrates for their alleged role in dealing with the leaked documents, according to Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. He said other officials were being looked at for having possibly cooperated in the scandal.

In the Italian and Vatican legal systems, people are frequently placed under investigation as part of the information-gathering process by court magistrates without filing charges.

The Vatican on Monday acknowledged the arrest of a Spanish priest and a laywoman suspected of stealing confidential documents and leaking them.

The books that made headlines in Italian newspapers revealed millions of euros in lost rental income from the Vatican's real-estate holdings, millions in missing inventory from the Vatican's tax-free department store, supermarket and pharmacy, and huge spending by monsignors and cardinals.

The Vatican forcefully disputed the reports Wednesday and warned that it would take legal steps to protect its reputation.