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'Huge' assets probe into Swiss money flight prelate

Msgr Nunzio Scarano arrested with spy, broker

28 June, 15:10
'Huge' assets probe into Swiss money flight prelate (see previous).

(ANSA) - Rome, June 28 - Prosecutors on Friday opened a probe into the "huge" financial and property assets of a Vatican prelate accused of trying to fly 20 million euros from Switzerland to three Salerno-based oil-tanker magnates with the help of a spy and a broker.

"The Rome prosecutor's office has started a series of checks to clear up the origin of the huge financial and property holdings of Msgr Nunzio Scarano, arrested today in Rome in connection with the investigation into the attempted illicit importation into Italy of 20 million euros," the prosecutors' office said. The failed attempt to get the money back to the D'Amico brothers, involving a private jet, led to the arrest of Scarano, until recently head of accounts analysis at the Vatican asset-management agency APSA, as well as intelligence agent Giovanni Maria Zito and broker Giovanni Carenzio .

The brothers were reported to be friends of Msgr Scarano, who was suspended a month ago.

Vatican Bank IOR, to which APSA is linked, told ANSA it aimed to "cooperate fully with Italian authorities" and launch an internal inquiry "in line with the zero-tolerance policy promoted by (new) president Ernest Von Freyberg". Police said the probe into Scarano's attempt to circumvent laws on importing foreign currency was part of a wider investigation into suspected past irregularities at IOR.

German aristocrat and industrialist Von Freyberg, appointed in February by Pope Benedict XVI in one of his last official acts as pontiff, last month vowed to bring greater transparency to an institution which has been touched by money-laundering accusations.