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Vatican freezes assets of cleric in money-laundering probe

Catholic World News - July 12, 2013

The Vatican bank has frozen the account of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, the suspended Vatican official who is under investigation for money-laundering.

Vatican prosecutors obtained a court order to freeze Msgr. Scarano’s account at the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) on July 9. The Vatican disclosed that the action was part of an “ongoing investigation” which “could be extended to additional individuals.”

Msgr. Scarano, who was arrested by Italian police for attempting to bring €20 million in cash into Italy illegally, had already be the focus of an investigation into money-laundering at the IOR. “The investigation was triggered by several suspicious transaction reports,” the Vatican press office revealed.

Ernst von Freyburg, the new president of the IOR, has announced that the Vatican bank will show “zero tolerance for any activity, whether conducted by laity or clergy, that is illegal or outside the statutes of the Institute.” The IOR is currently working with expert consultants from the Promontory Financial Group to tighten safeguards against illegal transactions.

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