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Vatican official arrested in ‘bags of cash’ scandal

A senior accountant at the Vatican was arrested Friday for a plot to smuggle $26 million in cash into Italy aboard a private jet.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano headed a department in the Vatican’s property-management division.

He’s accused of fraud and corruption.

He was allegedly trying to smuggle money that belonged to a friend.

Italian police say Scarano had arranged to fly bags of cash from Switzerland to Italy to evade customs and taxes.

The Vatican suspended Scarano from his Vatican job about a month ago, according to ABC news, for alleged money laundering. ‘In that inquiry,’ ABC said, ‘Scarano is accused of taking more than $700,000 donated for terminally ill patients and using it to pay off a personal mortgage.’

Investigators said he withdrew ‘$16,000 at a time, giving it to 56 different friends, who then paid him back with checks so he could avoid detection,’ according to ABC.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis announced a commission to investigate operations at the Vatican Bank.

Scarano was arrested near Rome Friday. He’s being held in the city’s Queen of Heaven jail, his lawyer said.

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