Catholic World News

Italian police charge Argentinian-born priest in €30-million fraud scheme

February 11, 2016

Italian police have arrested an Argentinian-born priest who is suspected of defrauding donors of €30 million ($34 million) in a complex money-laundering scheme.

Msgr. Patrizio Benvenuti, who served as a military chaplain in Italy and as a minor official on Vatican tribunals until his retirement, reportedly raised the €30 million, mostly from elderly people, for the Kepha Foundation, which was supposedly involved in humanitarian projects. But according to police, the funds were used for "a racketeering organization operating domestically and abroad, aimed at committing various and repeated crimes of fraud, money-laundering, and tax evasion, involving individuals and companies located in Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United States."

Msgr. Benvenuti, who was taken into custody as he sought to leave Italy for his retirement home on the Canary Islands, is being held under house arrest. Police have seized an €8-million villa belonging to the Kepha Foundation that was apparently used as his residence,  and are seeking to seize another villa on Corsica. 


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