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Vatican: Suspected Pope JP II beatification 'ticket scam' uncovered

last update: March 18, 11:44

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Rome, 18 March (AKI) - An American tour guide in Rome is suspected of fraudulantely using the internet to sell tickets to the beatification of late Pope John Paul II.

Italian police searched the suspect's apartement on Friday after they were tipped off by Vatican security officials about a suspected scam allegedly conducted by an American known for conducting tours without a tour guide license.

Unsuspecting pilgrims were charged 166 euros, plus sales tax, for a false ticket granting them access to the 1 May ceremony to be held the Vatican's St. Peter's Square. Police say the operation was conducted on www.vaticancitytours.com.

Pope Benedict VXI will preside over the 1 May ceremony, which is expected to draw two million pilgrims to Rome to celebrate one of the most popular popes of all time.

Warning of scams in February, the Vatican said no tickets are required for the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II, and any papal events that do require tickets are always free.

Beatification is the penultimate step on the road to sainthood.

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