Vatican freezes assets of arrested monsignor, warns probe may extend to others in case


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has frozen the assets of a monsignor who was arrested in a $26 million money smuggling plot and warned that other people may be caught up in the investigation.

The Vatican's chief prosecutor froze the accounts at the Vatican bank of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who was arrested by Italian authorities June 28 on accusations of corruption and slander for allegedly plotting to bring 20 million euro into Italy aboard a private jet to avoid declaring it at customs.

A judge has refused to grant him house arrest.

In a statement today, the Vatican said its own investigation into Scarano was triggered by several suspicious transactions reports filed with the Vatican's financial watchdog agency. It said its probe "could be extended to additional individuals."