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Lawyers seeks house arrest for Vatican monsignor

A woman walks past the entrance of the courthouse in Rome June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
A woman walks past the entrance of the courthouse in Rome June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Magistrates on Monday questioned Nunzio Scarano, the Vatican prelate detained on suspicion of trying to smuggle tens of millions of euros into Italy, and lawyers asked that he be released into house arrest.

"He explained everything he could. He cooperated in an extremely loyal and honest way. He said he was in good faith and at the disposal of the magistrates whenever they needed," lawyer Francesco Grimaldi told reporters outside Rome's Queen of Heaven jail after the three-hour interrogation.

Scarano, who had close connections to the Vatican bank, was arrested on Friday along with Giovanni Zito, a secret services agent, and financial broker Giovanni Carenzio.

They have been accused of plotting to bring 20 million euros ($26.00 million)in cash to Italy from Switzerland for Scarano's rich shipping industry friends in the southern city of Salerno. Scarano is under a separate investigation there on suspicion of money laundering

Scarano's lawyers asked that he be transferred to house arrest at a parish or another religious institution such as a convent so he could say Mass.

(Reporting Gabriele Pileri, writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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