Vatican Accountant Arrested for Attempted £17m Fraud

Jul 15, 2013


By Lyndsey Hall



The Vatican’s Chief Accountant has been arrested for attempting to smuggle £17 million (€20m) into Italy from Switzerland.


The plot to smuggle the money in a government plane involved a member of the Italian secret service and a financial broker, as well as the bishop. 


According to an article in the Daily Mail, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, the bishop of Salerno, requested he be put on house arrest, but was turned down by a judge and ordered to remain at Rome’s Queen of Heaven prison until a decision has been made to indict him.



The Daily Mail reported that Scarano worked at Deutsche Bank before taking his ecclesiastical vows, and is known among certain circles in the Vatican as “Don 500 Euros” thanks to his habit of showing off the fact that he only carries the highest bank note in his wallet.



Scarano was already under investigation by police in his hometown of Salerno, southern Italy, for alleged money laundering in relation to his account at the Vatican’s bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). He reportedly withdrew £480,000 (€560,000) in cash from his personal IOR bank account and took it out of the Vatican and into Italy to pay off the mortgage on his home in Salerno. The bishop is also accused of fraud, corruption, and other charges, as part of a wider investigation into the IOR.



If you need advice about the tax implications of moving money abroad, or into the UK from another country, or if you are concerned about the security of your systems and the ability of your internal controls to identify fraud, we can help. Just give us a call or leave us a message in the Comments.




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