Catholic priest arrested for stealing €4m from Rome hospital

(AP) Italian police on Thursday arrested a priest accused of pocketing €4m (£2.76m) from a Catholic hospital he ran and helping run up €600m in debts that forced it into bankruptcy.

The Rev Franco Decaminada, who until 2011 was the chief executive of the IDI dermatological hospital in Rome, was placed under house arrest by Italy’s financial police. They also detained two other people while seizing a Tuscan villa that police say Decaminada built with stolen money.

The plight of 1,500 IDI workers who haven’t received paychecks for months had prompted Benedict XVI in one of his last acts as pope to name a delegate in February to take over the religious order that owns the hospital to try to bring it back to financial health.

But in the end the Vatican refused to provide any financial assistance and last week a Rome court certified the hospital as insolvent.

IDI workers have occupied the hospital’s management area and are buying food to help needy co-workers while continuing to work without pay in hopes of saving their jobs.

“After years of suffering and eight months without salary, we at least have the satisfaction of seeing that justice is starting to work,” Bartolomeo Di Gregorio, 56, a biomedical lab technician, told the Associated Press on Thursday. [More]

SOURCE

AP/The Guardian