Ex-Vatican accountant in handcuffs
VATICAN CITY — The plot involved an armed police escort, a wealthy shipping family and a plan to secretly transport 20 million euros, or $26 million, from a Swiss bank account into Italy aboard a private jet. At the heart of the story of greed: a silver-haired Vatican monsignor.
The latest corruption scandal to hit the Holy See unraveled in public on Friday as Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant, was arrested in the customs-dodging Swiss bank case. He is also under investigation in a separate case of alleged money-laundering involving his Vatican bank account.
Pope Francis this week established a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank to get to the bottom of the problems that have plagued it for decades and contributed to its reputation as an offshore tax haven.
Francis has made it clear that he has no tolerance for corruption or for Vatican officials who use their jobs for personal ambition or gain, and the Vatican said it was prepared to fully cooperate with Italian investigators, who described a remarkably detailed scheme allegedly spearheaded by Scarano to benefit some very wealthy friends. Prosecutor Nello Rossi identified them as the d'Amicos, one of Italy's most important shipping families from Scarano's hometown of Salerno in southern Italy.
Rossi declined to say if any of the d'Amicos were under investigation, but said developments were expected within days.
Three people were arrested on Friday: Scarano, a onetime banker who was recently suspended from his job in the Vatican's main finance office, Italian financier Giovanni Carenzio and Giovanni Zito, who until recently was a member of the Italian military police's agency for security and information.
According to wiretapped conversations, the three allegedly plotted to smuggle in some 20 million euros in cash that Carenzio held in a Swiss bank account without declaring it to authorities at the airport.
Scarano's lawyer described him as something of a middleman: The 20 million euros belonged to the d'Amicos, who had given the money to Carenzio to invest but wanted it back. Scarano was tasked with persuading Carenzio to hand it over.
Rossi said the d'Amico money was presumably being held in Switzerland to avoid paying Italian taxes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Death toll from capsized Philippine ferry rises to 50
- Official: Iran agrees to early inspections start
- Little hope of survivors in Indonesian plane crash
- Egyptian president plans tougher legal system in speech at burial of prosecutor
- Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 53
- Scores die in Boko Haram attacks on Nigeria mosques
- 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars worth 40 cents
- Gunman rampages through Tunisian seaside resort killing at least 37
- Indonesia’s military jockeys for political power
- Kuwait holds mass funeral for victims of Shiite mosque suicide bombing
- Fallout of potential Greek default on eurozone feared