Arrested prelate tells magistrates of secret accounts in Vatican



• Monsignor also subject of separate money laundering investigation
• Pope studying how to reform scandal-plagued Vatican bank

Philip Pullella | Reuters

Published — Monday 16 September 2013

Last update 22 September 2013 3:24 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

ROME: The Vatican department in charge of paying salaries and managing real estate acted improperly as a parallel bank, providing accounts to outsiders, an arrested prelate who worked there for 22 years has told Italian prosecutors.
The latest allegations of misdoings come as Pope Francis struggles to tackle years of financial scandals involving the Vatican bank, which has long been in the spotlight for failing to meet international standards against tax evasion and the disguising of illegal sources of income.
The allegations concerning the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, known as APSA, will present another headache for the pope, who has appointed two commissions to advise him on how to clean up Vatican finances.
A key suspect in a widening investigation by Italian magistrates looking into alleged money laundering through the Vatican bank told them that officials at APSA allowed the office to be used by outsiders even though it was against its regulations, according to a transcript of his questioning.
The prelate, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, 61, is under investigation by magistrates in his home city of Salerno, where he is suspected of using his close ties with the Vatican bank to launder money. He is under arrest in a hospital in Salerno.
Scarano’s lawyers say he did not launder money.
Scarano was arrested in Rome on June 28 along with an Italian secret service agent and a financial broker in a separate investigation concerning an alleged plot to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) into Italy from Switzerland.
Under questioning by Rome magistrates in July, Scarano said some officials at APSA, whose purpose is to pay Vatican salaries, fund its departments and manage its real estate, allowed the department to be used improperly by outsiders.
“As APSA, we were not allowed to have outside clients, but, despite this, in reality, we acted as a bank,” Scarano told the magistrates, according to the transcript of the questioning obtained by Reuters.
“We took in money, used it, and paid out interest to depositors,” he said.
The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said he had no comment on Scarano’s questioning.

Bank account
During the questioning by magistrates, Scarano named one Italian banker who had an account at APSA. That account was closed when the banker was caught up in an Italian investigation into market-rigging, Scarano added. Another account holder at APSA was a long-time Vatican benefactor, the prelate said.
Scarano also told prosecutors that he informed a superior of his concerns with the so-called “lay accounts.” After this meeting, Scarano said some of the accounts were closed, but then he was promoted to another APSA office where he subsequently had limited access to first-hand information.
In addition to managing real estate and paying salaries, APSA acts as the purchasing office and human resources department for the Vatican, according to the department’s statute. Among its lesser-known roles are financial portfolio management and stock management for the Vatican.
Vatican sources say the pope wants the Holy See to cooperate with Italian investigators on the Scarano case. Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back from Brazil in July, Francis used an Argentine expression that means “he’s no saint.”
Through his position at APSA, Scarano had ready access to the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), where he had several accounts.
The IOR is currently under pressure from the international financial community to ensure more transparency and comply with international standards against money-laundering.
Since his arrest, Scarano has written three letters to Pope Francis and has asked to meet the pontiff to tell him of what he says were irregular activities in financial administration.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: The Civil Defense has rescued 105 pilgrims trapped in vehicles and buildings for various reasons since the start of Ramadan. During the first 10 days of the month, it also had to deal with 255 complaints, which included 150 accidents due to f...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman opened the new Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah on Thursday night.He was met at the airport by Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman and Suleiman bin Abdullah Al-Ham...
JEDDAH: The Interior Ministry said on Friday that it thwarted a plot by terrorists to attack targets in the Kingdom.Officers from the ministry raided a house in Taif where the suspects were staying and arrested three men, seized Daesh flags, gun sile...

Stay Connected

Facebook