A Benedictine abbey in Germany’s southern state of Baden Württemberg has discovered a secret fortune amassed by the former spiritual head of the monastery.
Norbert Stoffels was abbot of Nereseheim Abbey from 1977 until he died in 2012.
His successor, Father Albert Knebel, said over the weekend he found an estate left by Abbot Norbert worth $5 million.
“The fortune was neither registered on the abbey’s accounts, nor was anyone in the administration or any of my fellow brothers aware of its existence,” Father Knebel said in a statement.
“Our foremost concern is to find out where this money comes from,” Knebel said.
Neresheim Abbey dates back to the 11th Century.
Prosecutors in Krefeld in northern Germany said they had opened an investigation on suspicion the cash stemmed from a money-laundering operation, the UK Independent said.
In March this year, the Catholic Bishop of Limburg resigned after reports that he spent $38 million renovating his official residence. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst became known as the “bishop of bling.”
At Neresheim Abbey, Father Knebel said, “My fellow monks are not interested in the money and it was never included in the abbey’s finances.”
“We don’t know where the money came from or how it got there,” Father Knebel said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.