ROME – Italian tax police have arrested an Argentine monsignor they say was behind a Ponzi-type scheme swindling people out of 30 million euros ($34 million).
Police Capt. Alessandra Faietti says Monsignor Patrizio Benvenuti was under house arrest Wednesday in Genoa. Faietti says the probe began after a former nun who had been Benvenuti's housekeeper in Rome contacted tax police after discovering huge sums of money moving through her bank accounts. The former aide now lives near Bolzano in the South Tyrol.
Tax police investigators said Benvenuti has links with church tribunals and boasted of Vatican connections as he attracted contributions to a charity and an investment fund.
An arrest warrant has been issued for a French financier. Police seized a 15th-century Tuscan seaside villa where Benvenuti stayed.