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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-07-12 16:27:40
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Vatican freezes funds of cleric suspected in money laundering

12 July, 2013 - The Vatican has frozen funds belonging to a senior priest at the centre of a suspected money laundering operation as part of an investigation into the case and could extend the inquiry to other individuals, the Vatican said on Friday. In an update on the case of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, arrested June 28 by Italian police, Holy See’s Spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi released a statement saying the chief justice official of Vatican City State has ordered that the accounts of the monsignor at the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican bank, be frozen. He is accused of involvement in a plot to smuggle €20 million in cash into Italy from Switzerland. The statement said the Vatican’s own investigation into Scarano was triggered by several suspicious transactions reports filed with the Vatican's financial watchdog agency known as the Vatican Financial Intelligence Unit (AIF). "The inquiries may also be extended to other persons," the statement added. A month prior to his arrest, Msgr. Scarano had been suspended from his job at the Vatican’s real estate department, after it was found Italian police was investigation him in another financial case. Citing IOR's new head, Ernst von Freyberg, Fr. Lombardi said, "The Vatican is determined to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on possible financial irregularities, whether by clerics or lay persons."


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