MALAGA – Spanish police arrested on Friday four people who were accused of impersonating the Institute for the Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank, to acquire funds and forge business relations.
An investigation was launched after Vatican police released a statement warning that someone was usurping the city-state’s images, symbols and identity for unknown reasons.
“As well as a lot of paperwork, agents seized a sailboat in the Fuengirola marina, several high-end cars, 64,000 euros ($79,900) in the main suspect’s checking account, many luxury watches, technological supplies, silver ingots, point of purchase devices, a firearm with blanks and 5,000 euros in cash,” said Spanish police in a statement.
The detainees had painted a luxury car with the Vatican Bank’s shield and set up base in some offices in the southern coastal town of Fuengirola, from which they would maintain commercial relations with companies across the globe.
The alleged leader of the group would pretend to be a member of the Vatican’s diplomatic corps and had forged documents that named him an ambassador from Cuba.
The suspects are accused of scamming, unqualified practice, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.