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Leader of fake Vatican bank arrested

  • According to police sources, Operation 'Truffa' has seen the arrest of three Spanish men and a Colombian who have been accused of fraud, unqualified practice, money laundering and running an illegal organisation

National Police have arrested four members of an organisation in Fuengirola that was posing as a financial institution based in the Vatican and belonging to the Catholic Church in order to allegedly obtain and steal funds.

According to police sources, Operation 'Truffa' has seen the arrest of three Spanish men and a Colombian who have been accused of fraud, unqualified practice, money laundering and running an illegal organisation. The investigations began as a result of a request for help from Vatican police, where they stated that there was a criminal gang that had been using their identity, image and symbols in order to pose as a bank.

Police on the Costa discovered that the suspects had been driving luxury cars with the Vatican's official symbol printed on the side, and, in their Fuengirola offices, they were running several international businesses which claimed to have commercial relations with the Vatican.

According to investigators, there were two types of fraud. The first consisted of convincing businesses to invest in projects that would never be carried out. The second involved offering loans at inflated interest rates.

When the police arrested the 30-year-old Spanish man believed to be the leader, they found that he had several forged identity papers, including one that claimed he was Cuban ambassador.