The Holy See has assured its full cooperation with Italian authorities upon the announcement that a Vatican prelate was arrested this morning after a month-long corruption inquiry.
Msgr. Nunzio Scarano was arrested along with a broker and a secret service agent for allegedly attempting to transport 20 million euros on a private jet from Switzerland into Italy. A report by Reuters stated that Msgr. Scarano’s lawyers denied that the money left Switzerland.
Several media sources erroneously reported that Msgr. Scarano was Bishop of Salerno, which prompted the Archdiocese of Salerno to refute the reports.
“The Archbishop of Salerno […] is Archbishop Luigi Moretti and therefore is absolutely not involved in any investigation by the prosecutor,” stated a communique from the Archdiocese of Salerno.
Despite false reports that Msgr. Scarano is involved with the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the Holy See confirmed that the Italian prelate worked as a senior accountant for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).
Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, briefed journalists today on the case.
“Msgr. Scarano had been suspended from duty at APSA for over a month as soon as Superiors were informed that he was under investigation. This is pursuant to the Rules of the Roman Curia, which requires the precautionary suspension for persons for whom prosecution has been initiated,” Fr. Lombardi said.
Fr. Lombardi also stated that while no specific requests regarding the investigation into Msgr. Scarano’s activities have been made by Italian authorities, the Holy See confirmed its willingness to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Regarding rumors as to whether the Pontifical Commission recently created by Pope Francis to compile a report on the IOR’s activities, Fr. Lombardi stated that Msgr. Scarano’s work within APSA was unrelated to the IOR. “The commission,” he said, “has a certain set of general characteristics that do not focus on any singular case. I believe that this particular case would fall under the [jurisdiction of the] AIF.”
The AIF, or the Financial Information Authority, supervises money transactions and money circulation within Vatican City State.
When asked by journalists if the Holy Father has been informed on the case, Fr. Lombardi stated that while he has not spoken personally on the matter, it is safe to say that Pope Francis knows given the fact that Msgr. Scarano was suspended over a month ago once the investigation into his actions began.