Head of order arrested for 'framing' two priests
The head of a religious order founded in the 1500s has been arrested on suspicion of bringing trumped-up charges against rivals in a bid to be re-elected.
The Camillians were founded in 1582 by a former soldier of fortune, Camillo de Lellis.
Renato Salvatore (58) was allegedly so desperate to be re-elected Superior General of the 440-year-old order in May that he cooked up false charges against two priests who were opposed to his nomination.
The allegedly unfounded charges resulted in the two priests, Rosario Messina and Antonio Puca, being detained by police in Rome, thus stopping them voting against Fr Salvatore at a general assembly of the order. Their absence resulted in Father Salvatore being re-elected head of the order.
Police intercepted a telephone call in which Salvatore allegedly thanked one of his co-conspirators, telling him: "Without you I would not have been able to pull it off."
Italian tax police, the Guardia di Finanza, arrested Father Salvatore on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the alleged plot "was aimed at rich and powerful religious institutions engaged in projects with a strong social impact involving enormous sums of money." (©Daily Telegraph, London)