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Croatia: Priest steals 1.3 million euros and runs away with girlfriend

last update: October 17, 10:43

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Zagreb, 17 Oct. (AKI) – The Croatian Catholic church on Wednesday found itself mired in a scandal involving a young priest who allegedly stole 1.3 million euros of church funds and ran away with a young girl.

Local media reported that the priest, Sime Nimac, in the Adriatic town of Baska voda sold 40,000 square metres of church property, then withdrew the money from the bank before vanishing.

Nimac, 34, was reported to have absconded with a female banker and his whereabouts were unknown. As police opened an investigation, church officials issued a public apology over the incident, which they ascribed to "the insatiable egoism of an individual”.

But Zagreb daily Jutarnji list said in an editorial on Wednesday that the problem wasn’t just Nimac but also a lack of transparency in the heavily state-subsidised church and its finances.

Media reports said Nimac drove an expensive car, wore designer clothes and was adored by the women of his parish.

“If he did steal the church's money, it is a cathastrophe in a human and religious sense,” a local resident was quoted as saying.


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