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Fresh legal trouble for ex-Vatican prelate Scarano

New arrest warrant over money-laundering allegations

21 January, 11:05
Fresh legal trouble for ex-Vatican prelate Scarano (ANSA) - Rome, January 21 - Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, the former Vatican prelate arrested last year for allegedly trying to smuggle million of euros into Italy, faces new legal trouble after he was issued another arrest warrant related to a separate probe early on Tuesday.

Scarano, the former head of analytic accounts at the Holy See's asset-management agency APSA, is being probed for involvement in the laundering of major sums of money via allegedly fake donations to associations linked to him, judicial sources said.

Another priest was put under house arrest in relation to the probe, while a notary was banned for doing his job.

Scarano was already under house arrest after being detained in June on suspicion of planning to elude customs with 20 million euros in cash for a family of boat-builders he was friends with.

He has denied charges that he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker in a failed bid to bring the money from Switzerland to Italy.

Tuesday's arrest warrant also requested that the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), freeze accounts linked to Scarano.

Pope Francis last year said he was "hurt" by the case, the latest in a series that have cast a cloud of suspicion over financial dealings at the Vatican. The Vatican has made several reforms to introduce greater financial transparency and fight money laundering since Francis was elected pope last year. In December the Council of Europe's Moneyval agency, a monitoring group of financial experts, praised the Vatican's progress, as it seeks to get on the 'white list' of countries with strong credentials on combatting financial crime.

But it also stressed that more work needed to be done.