Vatican Bishop arrested

Channel 4 News reports…

“A Vatican official is arrested in an alleged plot to bring 20 million euros into Italy from Switzerland aboard an Italian government plane.

Nunzio Scarano, who is accused of fraud, corruption and other charges  stemming from the plot, which never got off the ground, was arrested in  his parish in the outskirts of Rome and taken to the city’s Queen of  Heaven prison.

The arrest comes just two days after Pope Francis unveiled a commission of inquiry to examine the activities of the troubled Vatican bank in the wake of allegations of a new money-laundering scandal.

Bishop Scarano is said to be a middleman in the operation, according to his lawyer Silverio Sica.

Friends are said to have asked Bishop Scarano to intervene with a  broker, Giovanni Carenzio, to return 20 million euros they had given him  to invest.

Mr Sica said Bishop Scarano persuaded Mr Carenzio to return the  money, and an Italian secret service agent, Mario Zito, went to  Switzerland to bring the money back aboard an Italian government  aircraft.

He said the plot failed because Mr Carenzio went back on his promise. Messrs Carenzio and Zito have also been arrested.

Journalist and Vatican expert Franca Giansoldati told Associated  Press that the current scandal would lead to reform: “There are several  cardinals who even wanted the Vatican bank to close down, and others who  want it to become an ethical bank.”

Prosecutors in the southern city of Salerno have already placed  Monsignor Scarano under investigation over allegations that he used  money from wealthy friends intended to fund the construction of a home  for the terminally ill, to pay off his own mortgage.

His lawyer, Mr Sica, said Bishop Scarano had wanted to pay off the  mortgage in order to sell a property in Salerno and use the proceeds to  build the care home.

It has been alleged that Scarano took out a total of 560,000 euros in  cash from his account at the Vatican bank – never withdrawing more than  10,000 euros at a time. He is then said to have given the money to  friends who paid it back in the form of cheques, which he paid into an  Italian bank to repay the mortgage.

Scarano was suspended from his duties as a senior accountant at a   financial office of the Vatican when the magistrates in Salerno placed   him under investigation.”



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