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Vaticon artist: Consultant arrested in fraud probe after sacked cardinal paid her £450,000

Grin reaper: Cecilia Marogna was held in Milan on an international arrest warrant on Tuesday

A WOMAN wanted in connection with a multi-million-pound fraud investigation at the Vatican has been arrested.

Cecilia Marogna, 39, from Sardinia, was held by Italian police in Milan on an international warrant.

She was said to be close to one of the Holy See’s most powerful cardinals, Angelo Becciu, before he was sacked by Pope Francis over a £90,000 payment to a charity run by his brother.

Fired: Cardinal Angelo Becciu PICTURE: AP

Marogna, said to be a political analyst and intelligence expert, contacted the cardinal in 2015 with concerns about security for Vatican embassies in hotspots. Becciu, also originally from Sardinia, allegedly wired more than £450,000 in Holy See funds to her Slovenian-based consultancy.

The cash was ‘for humanitarian operations in Africa and Asia’ and included payments for travel expenses and consultancy fees. But some of it was spent on luxury designer items which Marogna said were ‘maybe for the wife of a Nigerian friend who was in a position to talk to the president of Burkina Faso’.

Her arrest is believed to be part of a huge corruption investigation launched last year by Vatican prosecutors into the Holy See’s £320million investment in a London property venture.