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Fraud Plot Foiled at Vatican Bank

March 30, 2014
KEYWORDS fraud
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Two men with false bond certificates worth trillions of euros (dollars) tried to bluff their way into a Vatican bank in a foiled fraud plot.

Financial Guard police Lt. Col. Davide Cardia said the two men tried to convince Swiss Guards at a Vatican City gate earlier this month that "cardinals were expecting them," said Fox News.

Cardia told The Associated Press that the suspects, a middle-aged Dutchman and a U.S. citizen, were detained by Vatican authorities after rapid checks by Vatican officials showed they had no such appointment nor connections with the Institute for Religious Works, the formal name of the bank, which is behind the tiny city-state's walls and isn't open to the public.

Cardia said the fake documents purported to be bond certificates for non-Italian companies, said Fox News. "The sum -- worth some 3 trillion euros (more than $4 trillion dollars) -- is impressive, even though it's only symbolic because we're talking about false" certificates, said Cardia, in charge of the financial police's operations in Rome and surrounding area.

Investigators suspect the men might have planned to use the fake bonds as security to open a large line of credit through the Vatican bank, said Fox News.

Italian police searched the men's room at a hotel near the Vatican and seized stamps and seals used to create the false documents,said Fox News.

Both suspects are believed to have left Italy.

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