Suspected fraud plot foiled at Vatican bank

Italian police say 2 men with false bonds tried to access bank


ROME  — Italian police say two men toting a briefcase stuffed with false bond certificates with a purported worth of trillions of dollars tried to bluff their way into the Vatican’s exclusive bank in a foiled fraud plot.

Financial Guard police Lt. Col. Davide Cardia said the would-be swindlers tried to convince Swiss Guards and other security personnel at a Vatican City gate a week ago that “cardinals were expecting them.”

Cardia told The Associated Press by telephone today that the men, a middle-aged Dutchman and a U.S. citizen, were detained after checks by Vatican officials found they had no such appointments at the bank, which isn’t open to the public.

A 2010 money-laundering probe by Rome prosecutors sparked tougher scrutiny at the bank.