Vatican Arrested For Alleged Money Laundering

Vatican Arrested For Alleged Money Laundering

Vatican Arrested For Alleged Money Laundering

A senior Catholic prelate arrested last month used his influence at the Vatican to provide private, illegal financial services for rich friends, Italian investigators say in a judicial document.

They say Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who is the target of two Italian investigations and who has accounts at the Vatican bank, engaged in “totally private, illegal activity which was also aimed at serving outsiders’’.

Scarano was arrested in Rome on June 28 along with a self-styled financier and a member of Italy’s secret services and formally accused of taking part in a plot to smuggle 26.28 million dollars into Italy from Switzerland. .

Reuters has obtained the 28-page document in which magistrates in Rome had asked a judge to order his arrest.

Scarano’s lawyer, Silverio Sica, denied the accusations it contains. “They don’t have any evidence to prove all of this,’’ he said on Sunday.

“These are just suspicions’’.

Pope Francis, who has made cleaning up the Vatican a goal of his papacy, has set up a commission of inquiry to reform its bank.

On Friday he announced he was forming another commission of lay experts to help him overhaul the Holy See’s economic and administrative departments.

Account holders at the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) and which has been plagued by scandal for decades, are obliged not to let them be used, even indirectly, by third parties.

The IOR has long been in the spotlight for failing to meet international standards intended to combat tax evasion and the disguising of illegal sources of income.

Its stated purpose is to provide financial services for religious orders of priests and nuns, Holy See officials and Vatican employees.

Scarano, a former banker who became a priest at the relatively late age of 35, worked as a senior accountant in the Vatican’s central financial administration office, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, or APSA.

In the document, the magistrates say Scarano, who worked at APSA for 22 years, offered his friends “a series of services in the area of financial transactions, in particular when there was a need or a request for them to remain secret’’.

They say the prelate carried out “a series of illegal activities by unscrupulously using his network of contacts in different areas, including businessmen, clergy who looked the other way, secret service agents and Vatican bank (IOR)personnel’’.

The IOR’s director and deputy director, who are under investigation by Italian magistrates, resigned on July 1, three days after Scarano’s arrest.

 

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