Prelate to pope: 'I never laundered dirty money'

ROME, July 25 (UPI) -- The former head of a Vatican accounting unit has told Pope Francis he is innocent of charges he helped to bring $26.5 million into Italy illegally.

In a letter to the pope dated July 20, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano asserted he did nothing wrong in trying "to help someone who asked for help," ANSA reported Thursday.


Scarano, who had been head of analytic accounts at the Vatican's asset management agency APSA, wrote the letter from a Rome prison where he has been held since his arrest June 28.

He, intelligence agent Giovanni Maria Zito and financial broker Giovanni Carenzio are charged with planning to elude customs controls.

"I never laundered dirty money," Scarano said in his letter. "I never stole. I tried to help someone who asked for help."

The prelate and Zito are accused of using a private jet to fly millions of euros in cash belonging to the D'Amico brothers, Salerno-based shipbuilders whose family was friends with Scarano.

Police said Zito got $530,000 for arranging cover for the flight, which never took place.

Scarano told police he "acted in good faith" to help his friends.

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