The Vatican department in charge of paying salaries and managing real estate acted improperly as a parallel bank, an arrested prelate who worked there for 22 years has told Italian prosecutors, reports Reuters.
The latest allegations of misdoings, by Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, come as Pope Francis struggles to tackle years of financial scandals involving the Vatican bank, which has long been in the spotlight for failing to meet international standards against tax evasion and the disguising of illegal sources of income.
The allegations concerning the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, known as APSA, will present another headache for the pope, who has appointed two commissions to advise him on how to clean up Vatican finances.
A key suspect in a widening investigation by Italian magistrates looking into alleged money laundering through the Vatican bank told them that officials at APSA allowed the office to be used by outsiders even though it was against its regulations, according to a transcript of his questioning.
Monsignor Scarano, 61, is under investigation by magistrates in his home city of Salerno, where he is suspected of using his close ties with the Vatican bank to launder money. He is under arrest in a hospital in Salerno. Mons. Scarano's lawyers say he did not launder money. Scarano was arrested in Rome on June 28 along with an Italian secret service agent and a financial broker in a separate investigation concerning an alleged plot to smuggle A$27 million into Italy from Switzerland.