Jailed Vatican cleric says corrupt superiors approved financial transfers
July 26, 2013
A Vatican official who faces money-laundering charges has appealed to Pope Francis, proclaiming his innocence and charging that he was betrayed by his superiors.
Msgr. Nunzio Scarano wrote to the Pontiff from Rome’s Regina Caeli prison, where he is detained on charges of planning to bring €20 million in cash into Italy illegally. He was arrested on that charge in June, after already having been suspended from his post at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) because he was being investigated on separate money-laundering charges.
"I never laundered dirty money, I never stole,” the accused cleric insisted in a latter to the Holy Father. “I tried to help someone who asked for help." Msgr. Scarano asserted that he has enough documentation to prove his innocence. He said that his financial deals always had the approval of his superiors.
More dramatically, the Italian priest charged that while working as an accountant in APSA—the office that handles the Vatican’s financial and real-estate assets— he had sought to curb financial misconduct by his own lay superiors in that office. His efforts were thwarted, he claims, because certain cardinals were “blackmailed” and covered up the abuses.
Msgr. Scarano said that he had brought the financial misconduct to the attention of Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was secretary to Pope John Paul II and is now Archbishop of Krakow. He also said that he had contacted Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals and former Secretary of State. Neither prelate helped him, he said.
The dramatic charges by Msgr. Scarano are likely to stir up new questions about corruption in the handling of Vatican business affairs—questions that were brought to the fore by the “Vatileaks” scandal. The accused cleric, who has admitted his involvement in some questionable financial transfers, apparently hopes to ensure that he will not face scrutiny alone.
- Jailed prelate writes to pope, accuses senior cardinals (ANSA)
- Vatican official acted illegally as private banker, prosecutors charge (CWN, 7/22)