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Vatican: Holy See to cooperate with Italy in bank probe

last update: June 28, 16:09

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Vatican City, 28 June (AKI) - The Holy See on Friday said it would "cooperate fully" with Italian investigators after the arrest of senior cleric on suspicion of fraud and graft amid a wider probe into the Vatican Bank.

"The Holy See has not received any request by Italian authorities in this case, but it confirms it is willing to cooperate fully," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Lombardi said the body which oversees the Vatican's financial institutions was also across the case of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant arrested on Friday for suspected fraud, corruption and slander.

"The Financial Information Authority (Ais) is following this problem and will take any necessary action within its remit," Lombardi stated.

He noted that Scarano was suspended last month from his post with the Vatican's Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (Apsa), which manages the Vatican's portfolio of assets including its real estate.

As a Vatican employee, Scarano was eligible to hold an account at the Vatican Bank, which Pope Francis on Wednesday put under investigation amid several money-laundering scandals.

Also arrested on Friday were an Italian secret services agent and a financial broker who with Scarano are suspected of trying to move 20 million euros illegally into Italy, according to Italy's finance police.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis set up a commission of clerics and a US academic to prepare a report on the Vatican Bank, which has been best by money-laundering allegations.

His predecessor Benedict XVI created the Ais financial watchdog in December 2010 as part of a new law to improve transparency and bring Vatican banking regulations into line with international efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

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