Senior cleric arrested in Vatican bank probe

Senior cleric arrested in Vatican bank probe

ROME - Reuters
Senior cleric arrested in Vatican bank probe

Policemen guard at the entrance of a justice court, with placard reads ‘No entrance.’ Vatican cleric, two others, were arrested in bank investigation.

A Vatican cleric, a member of Italy’s secret services and a financial broker were arrested on June 28 as part of an Italian investigation into the Vatican bank, a police source and a lawyer said.

The cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, worked as an accountant in the Vatican’s financial administration. He was arrested in a parish in Rome’s outskirts, his lawyer Silverio Sica said. He added Scarano was accused of being involved in an attempt to help friends bring 20 million euros into Italy from Switzerland by plane in league with the secret service agent and the financial intermediary.

Vatican ‘ready for cooperation’

The lawyer, who had access to the charge sheet, said the money never left Switzerland. Investigators identified the secret service agent as Giovanni Zitto and the broker as Giovanni Carenzio. It was not clear what role the bank had, if any, in the latest developments.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement that Vatican authorities stood ready to cooperate with the Italian investigation, but had so far received no official request. The arrests came two days after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had set up a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank, which is formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion and has been hit by a number of scandals in the past decades.

Scarano was suspended from his duties several weeks ago when he was placed under investigation by magistrates in the southern city of Salerno, his home town. In that investigation, Sica said wealthy friends had donated money to Scarano in order for him to build a home for the terminally ill.