Pope's accountant charged with using Vatican bank to launder millions _ World _ News _ Express.co.uk u s anti money laundering laws

Pope’s accountant charged with using Vatican bank to launder millions _ World _ News _ Express.co.uk u s anti money laundering laws

Former vatican accountant nunzio scarano charged with money laundering [AP]

Monsignor nunzio scarano, 61, is already on trial for an alleged plot to smuggle £17million into italy.

The former senior accountant was suspended from his job at the vatican after working there for more than 22 years.

He and two other people were served with arrest warrants today on suspicion of money laundering and making false statements. Fifty-two others were being investigated.

The charges are a fresh blow to pope francis who has vowed to make church finances meet international standards of transparency.

The pope has not ruled out closing the bank if it cannot be reformed.

The charges are a major blow for pope francis in his bid to clean up the vatican bank [AP]

Scarano is under house arrest in his native salerno, near naples.

He is on trial in rome for conspiring to smuggle €20million out of switzerland along with a financier and a former secret services officer for rich shipbuilder friends in salerno.U s anti money laundering laws

The new charge, which came after a separate, year-long investigation, concerns suspected money laundering through his accounts at the vatican bank, officially known as the institute for works of religion (IOR).

A police statement said millions of euros in “false donations” from offshore companies moved through scarano’s accounts there.

Police did not say exactly how much laundered money had moved through the IOR but said scarano had about €5million at his disposal in accounts at the vatican and other italian banks.

Police have frozen two accounts in an italian bank just outside the vatican, one for a real estate company he controlled.

They also seized two apartments, as part of around €6.5million in financial and real estate assets. Last july, the vatican bank froze more than €2million in about 10 accounts scarano kept there.

Elena guarino, the salerno magistrate who led the investigation, told reporters the vatican was fully cooperating with the probe.U s anti money laundering laws

Scarano lived in a luxury, 17-room apartment decorated with original artwork worth €6million, according to investigators.

He had been under investigation for months over the suspicious movement of some €590,000 in 2012 in one cash transaction from the vatican bank, investigators said last year.

Scarano divided the cash, most of it in 500 euro notes, among more than 50 friends, investigators said.

Each friend gave him a cashier’s cheque drawn on italian banks.

He then took all the cheques to a bank in salerno and paid off a mortgage on his apartment, which investigators said last year he had purchased for about €1.7million.

Scarano denied the money laundering accusations when they were first made last year.

He told investigators the money had come from donations. Police, however, said on tuesday that much of it came from offshore companies controlled by his friends.U s anti money laundering laws related articles

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