JOHN FOLLAIN, VATICAN CITY From: The Australian July 01, 2013
A SENIOR Roman Catholic cleric arrested for allegedly plotting to bring E20 million ($28.6m) into Italy from Switzerland spoke in code to his accomplices, according to leaked telephone intercepts.
Nunzio Scarano, 61, a former Vatican finance official, was detained on Friday along with an Italian former spy and a financial broker. Prosecutors say they had planned to smuggle the money in a private plane. The three deny any wrongdoing.
Monsignor Scarano, a banker who became a priest at 32, is reported to have referred to millions of euros as “books of the Treccani” a reference to the authoritative 35-volume Italian encyclopedia.
“I think that the more books you bring the better,” Monsignor Scarano reportedly told Giovanni Maria Zito, the former spy, in July last year ahead of the shipment.
“If I can, I’ll bring twice as much,” Mr Zito replied.
“Can you manage 20-25 books?” asked Monsignor Scarano, who prosecutors said was called “Monsignor E500” because he flaunted E500 notes.
Mr Zito allegedly demanded a E400,000 commission for his part in the deal. The shipment, later aborted, allegedly involved funds from three brothers of the d’Amico shipping family.
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