Monday, July 1, 2013

Vatican Priest Accused of Money Smuggling-Laundering

Nunzio Scarano

Interesting article today from the Christian Science Monitor about a priest at the Vatican, Rev. Nunzio Scarano, who was caught along with two cohorts trying to smuggle 26 million dollars in cash on a plane going from Switzerland to Italy. The money was owned by a family that has a shipping company in Naples. He was apparently going to "privately" deposit the money into a Vatican bank either to help the family avoid paying taxes on it, or perhaps to launder it in the case that it might have been illegally gotten money.

What caught my attention more than anything was the fact that all three men met through their membership in the Constantine Order of St. George, a society of ecclesiastical knights who's history is sketchy at best. The article also mentions the last great Vatican banking scandal in the 1980s when the chairman of an Italian bank in which the Vatican was the primary shareholder was found hanging dead under the Blackfriars Bridge and five members of the Italian Mafia were tried for his murder, but all were acquitted for lack of evidence.

In short, I think it's great that Pope Francis is doing his best to straighten out the Vatican banking mess, but if big money and the Mafia are involved, he's going to have a very difficult undertaking ahead of him. We may start seeing dead priests hanging from bridges in the near future.

The article is here.