A laywoman on trial at the Vatican for stealing confidential documents and leaking them to journalists who published them in tell-all books, is under investigation in Rome, prosecutors said on Monday.
Rome prosecutors are probing Chaouqui, a 33-year-old PR consultant and her husband, Corrado Lanino, an IT specialist, over alleged irregularities in the sale of Girolamo castle near Narni, in Umbria.
Following phone intercepts authorised by prosecutors in the Umbrian city of Terni who have been investigating the pair for alleged extortion and hacking, Rome prosecutors are also trying to glean if any Vatican data was hacked.
Chaouqui and high-ranking clergyman Lucio Vallejo Balda are the defendants at the centre of the current Vatican trial where two Italian journalists and Balda's assistant are also in the dock.
Chaouqui denies any wrongdoing and claims she is a scapegoat in the case. Vallejo Balda's current lawyer plans to ask the court for his client to undergo psychiatric tests, Italian media have reported.
Italian daily La Repubblica on Monday published a statement made by Vallejo Balda to his laywer on 8 November in which he claims to have had sex with Chaouqui in Florence on 28 December last year and that she told him she worked for the secret services and her marriage with Lanino was a front.
"She sent me photos of Corrando with another woman - his real wife," Vallejo Balda was quoted as saying.
Once close friends, the priest and the PR specialist are now bitterly estranged, especially since Milan daily Il Giorno last week published a selection of lewd text messages exchanged by the two.
Chaouqui claims the Whatsapp messages were edited to tarnish her reputation and said she would "sue the pants off" Vallejo Balda unless he retracts everything in court, she was quoted as telling La Repubblica.
Chaouqui and Vallejo Balda were appointed to a now-disbanded commission set up by Pope Francis to look at financial and administrative reforms of the Holy See.