Former Vatican accountant faces further charge of money laundering
A former top Vatican accountant, Nunzio Scarano, now on trial for an alleged plot to smuggle 20 million euros (N4.3 billion) from Switzerland into Italy, was further charged on Tuesday with money laundering.
Mr. Scarano, a Monsignor, was accused of laundering millions through the Vatican bank, his lawyer, Silverio Sica, said.
He has been under house arrest in his native Salerno in southern Italy as part of the money smuggling trial that began on December 3.
The new charge is related to suspected laundering via his accounts at the Vatican bank, Mr. Sica said.
Mr. Scarano is on trial on charges of conspiring to smuggle some 20 million euros out of Switzerland for rich shipbuilder friends in Salerno, near Naples.
Police said the Monsignor and two other people served with arrest warrants on Tuesday were suspected of laundering and making false statements.
Mr. Sica said one of those arrested was a priest friend of Mr. Scarano, who was suspended from his job at the Vatican last year.
A police statement said millions of euros in false donations from offshore companies were moved through Mr. Scarano’s accounts at the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion, IOR.
They said millions of euros worth of bank accounts and real estate holdings were in the process of being confiscated as part of the police operation in Salerno that coincided with the issuing of the arrest warrants.