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Media: International arrest warrant against Zanchetta © Antonio Nardelli (shutterstock)

In Argentina, the public prosecutor's office is apparently seeking an international arrest warrant against the former bishop of Oran, Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta. He is accused of embezzlement and sexual abuse.

In justification, according to the newspaper "Pagina 12", the prosecutor's office said that Zanchetta had not responded to telephone calls or e-mails during the investigation and could not be found at the moment.

The authority recalled that prosecutor Maria Soledad Filtrin Cuezzo had opposed measures that would have allowed Zanchetta to leave the country. Appropriate permission had previously been granted by a judge.

Accusations of fraud and embezzlement

Just two weeks ago, the offices of the diocese of Oran in northern Argentina were raided by police. There are allegations of fraud and embezzlement against Zanchetta from 2013 to 2017.

In 2017, the bishop had offered his resignation to the pope, allegedly for health reasons. Some time later, Francis, who as archbishop in Argentina maintained friendly relations with Zanchetta, brought him to Rome to a position in the Vatican's property administration APSA.

Accusations: sexual abuse and assaultive behavior

Meanwhile, Zanchetta also faces allegations of "repeated sexual abuse" by two seminarians. Other priest candidates accuse their former bishop of assaultive behavior, according to the report.

According to the U.S. church portal Crux, since the beginning of 2019, a trial has been underway in the Vatican against Zanchetta, who has been relieved of his duties until further notice. However, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is handling the trial, will await the results of the prosecutor's investigation in Argentina before making its ruling.

In his homeland, Zanchetta is accused of, among other things, embezzling some 250.000 U.S. dollars (converted according to the exchange rate at the time) accused of. The money from the provincial government had been requested for the restoration of a rectory and a series of lectures at the local seminary, neither of which ever took place.

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