Vatican bank director, deputy resign amid scandal

July 2, 2013 - 1:35 AM

Vatican Bank

An undated photo of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano in Salerno, Italy. A Vatican official already under investigation in a purported money-laundering plot involving the Vatican bank was arrested Friday, June 28, 2013, in a separate operation: Prosecutors allege he tried to bring 20 million euros ($26 million) in cash into Italy from Switzerland aboard an Italian government plane, his lawyer said. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a recently suspended accountant in one of the Vatican's main financial departments, is accused of fraud, corruption and slander stemming from the plot, which never got off the ground, attorney Silverio Sica told The Associated Press. He said Scarano was a middleman in the operation: Friends had asked him to intervene with a broker, Giovanni Carenzio, to return 20 million euros they had given him to invest. Sica said Scarano persuaded Carenzio to return the money, and an Italian secret service agent, Giovanni Maria Zito, went to Switzerland to bring the cash back aboard an Italian government aircraft. Such a move would presumably prevent any reporting of the money coming into Italy. The operation failed because Carenzio reneged on the deal, Sica said. (AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro)

ROME (AP) — The director of the embattled Vatican bank and his deputy have resigned following the latest developments in a broadening finance scandal.

The Vatican said Monday that Paolo Cipriani and his deputy, Massimo Tulli, offered to step down "in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See."

Cipriani, along with the bank's then-president, was placed under investigation by Rome prosecutors in 2010 for alleged violations of Italy's anti-money-laundering norms after financial police seized 23 million euro ($30 million) from a Vatican account at a Rome bank. Neither has been charged and the money was eventually ordered released.

But the bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, has remained under the glare of prosecutors and now Pope Francis amid fresh concerns it has been used as an offshore tax haven.