Well this doesn’t come as a surprise:
Reports that an Italian government official accused of financial corruption allegedly used a Vatican choir singer to arrange gay liaisons for him are “shameful,” the official’s lawyer told CNN Saturday. Angelo Balducci is appealing a judge’s decision to keep him in prison over allegations of financial corruption, said his lawyer, Franco Coppi. Police say they learned of the alleged gay liaisons while wiretapping Balducci as part of an investigation into how public-works contracts were awarded.
Italian authorities say they recorded conversations between Balducci and Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 39-year-old Nigerian singer. They were recorded between April 14, 2008, and January 20, 2010. In addition to working for the government, Balducci served as a “gentleman of His Holiness,” also known as a papal usher or “Vatican gentleman.” The main responsibility of the ceremonial position is to welcome heads of state to the Vatican and escort them to see the pope.
Balducci is one of three public officials who, along with a businessman, have been jailed on charges related to corruption in the public works department. The public officials are alleged to have awarded contracts to businessmen who offered them favors, money, sex, and/or house remodeling in exchange. The suspects, who deny the charges, are in “cautionary custody” though they have not been charged or indicted.
Balducci also had a picky appetite when it came to his men:
“For Balducci, a 26- or 27-year-old man was too young,” Ehiem told the magazine. “He preferred older men, above 40 years old.” According to the wiretap transcripts, in a conversation dated April 22, 2008, Ehiem says, “I called you … because there are … if you are free … three or four situations that can be good … very, very good …”
Ehiem: “Two black, Cuban men … really tall, tall, tall … so … if you are free … we can try to organize right away … that is, I saw both of them, Angelo … believe me that … they could be two excellent options.” In another conversation, dated August 21, 2008, Ehiem says: “Look, if you want I can have them come one after the other … it is possible … if you have some free time … I can arrange for the two of them.”
Balducci: “Which are the better ones?”
Ehiem: “The better ones are the ones I just told you about … one from Bologna and the other one from Rome.”
Balducci: “All right, then let’s do it for 3:30.”
Ehiem said an escort friend introduced him to the Italian businessman more than a decade ago. “He asked me to do it with him, but I like women and just the thought grossed me out,” Ehiem said. “He asked me if I could procure him other men. He told me that he was married and that it had to be done in great secrecy. I told him that there was the Internet. But he asked me to take care of it because he couldn’t do it from his home.” He added, “Sometimes he would ask for two meetings a day.” Ehiem told Panorama he was trying to support his family in Nigeria, and that Balducci sometimes paid him 50 or 100 euros, but “never more than 1,000 to 1,500 per year.”
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