Rome - A Vatican Airways cargo plane loaded with €20m of illicit cash stuffed into North Face-Off zip-up holdalls was readying to take off from Switzerland's Gnomes of Zurich Airport when police swooped late last night.
The seizure, part of an ongoing money laundering, fraud and racketeering probe by international law enforcement agencies, has lead to the arrest of a Rome-based 'Mr Fix-It' priest in charge of deposits at the First Vatican Bank of Pyongyang Commonwealth Territories.
Fr Pederasto Gorgonzola, 69, has been taken into custody along with accomplices who include an Italian former secret service agent and a financial broker.
The arrests are rumored to have been triggered following a tip-off by sources close to the US National Security Agency's recently much publicised wire tap program.
Commenting on the successful operation a former Interpol officer said today it was part of a much wider ongoing probe into Vatican corruption linked to the so-far unexplained 1982 death of 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi.
"Eez bad, I tell you," the ex-cop said.
Today's development comes as a severe blow to the shadowy Opus Dei movement which has been petitioning for Calvi to be made a saint alongside his lifelong business partner Karol Wojtyla - Pope JP2 Lodge.
In June 1982 God's Banker Roberto Calvi was found 'suicided' under Blackfriars Bridge in the City of London, just a few days after Pope John Paul II's London visit.
No one has ever been convicted of his death.