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.