Vatican Monsignor re-arrested on money laundering charges

Police believed to have seized €6 million in property and bank accounts in 52-year-old’s name

Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 11:35

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, the Vatican official arrested last June on charges of attempting to illegally import € 20 million into Italy, was re-arrested this morning in the context of a different investigation.

Under house arrest in his native Salerno for health reasons since last October, Monsignor Scarano was today arrested on money laundering charges.

Investigators in Salerno believe that he used “false” church donations, subsequently lodged in the Vatican bank, to hide the transfer of money to and from off shore accounts, also held in his name.

In total, police are believed to have today sequestered € 6 million’s worth of property and bank accounts held in Monsignor Scarano’s name, with € 2 million of the money lodged in the Vatican bank.

Two other unnamed men, one of them a priest and the other a notary, were also served with an arrest warrant.

Investigators confirmed today that the Italian Ministry Of Justice has lodged an international rogatory or request for information with the Vatican.

Last June, 52-year-old Monsignor Scarano made international headlines when he was arrested by Rome-based investigators for his involvement in a botched attempt to illegally import €20 million from Switzerland into Italy.

Monsignor Scarano was accused along with secret services agent, Mario Zito, and financial broker, Giovanni Carenzio, of having attempted to bring the money into Italy in a private jet, allegedly on behalf of the D’Amico shipbuilding family from Salerno.

The agent Zito had been engaged to help both move the money from the Swiss bank and to avoid customs and tax controls at Locarno airport.

The jet was to have been met on the Rome airport runway by an armed escort which would then have taken the money to Mons - Msgnr Scarano’s home in a religious house in Rome.

In the end, the plan fell apart because of disputes between the three men who, at that point, were so worried about the implications of the whole business that the burned the mobile phones they had been using.

Formerly an accountant with APSA, the organisation which administers the patrimony of the Holy See, Msgnr Scarano had been suspended from that position by his Holy See superiors one month before the botched money importation.