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Vatican children's hospital officials probed over 'cash for cardinal's home'

The Vatican said on Thursday that its prosecutor is investigating two former officials of a Vatican-owned children's hospital over renovations at the penthouse apartment of the city-state's former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The cardinal denied that he had authorised any such payments related to his apartment, said his lawyer, Michele Gentiloni Silverj.

The Vatican statement confirmed a report in Espresso magazine that Giuseppe Profiti, the Bambino Gesu hospital's former president, and Massimo Spina, its ex-treasurer, were under investigation.

The Vatican said the investigation was ongoing but did not say when it began.

The report by journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, among five defendants on trial at the Vatican in a leaked documents case, said the renovations totalled 422,000 euro (480,000 US dollars) - more than twice the 200,000-euro sum that Mr Fittipaldi revealed previously in a book that led to the leaked document charges.

The cardinals lawyer issued a statement saying the cleric never "gave indications or authorised" the hospital foundation to make any payments relating to his apartment.

The cardinal, who has insisted he paid for the renovations himself, has already sought to make amends with a 150,000-euro donation to the hospital for medical research. He stressed the donation was voluntary and not a repayment.

The cardinal was formerly the secretary of state, the Vatican's number two official, under Pope Benedict XVI and for the first months of Francis' papacy. Now 81, he no longer holds any top Vatican post.

The trial against Mr Fittipaldi, another journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, two former officials of a papal reform commission and another defendant is set to resume next week.

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