Italian police on Thursday arrested a priest accused of defrauding a Vatican-linked hospital in Rome that he managed of four million euros ($5.1 million), part of which he used to buy an 18-room villa in Tuscany set on 23 hectares of land.
Father Franco Decaminada, a friar who took vows of poverty, has been placed under house arrest.
He headed up the prestigious Immaculate Institute of Dermopathology between 2004 and 2011.
The specialist hospital has been placed under administration after it registered losses of 600 million euros and pope Benedict XVI in one of his last acts as pontiff last month appointed a cardinal to resolve its economic woes.
The tax police said in a statement that Decaminada bought his villa in Tuscany for a million euros — “essentially with the proceeds of his crime”.
“The investigation traced fraud for a total of 14 million euros,” the police said.