Church treasurer suspected in €750,000 embezzlement

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Rosary on an open bible (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/James Chan) cross, jesus, roman catholic . (Rosary on an open bible (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/James Chan))

The treasurer of the Heilige Christoffel en Heilige Geest parish in Roermond is suspected of embezzling 750 thousand euros of the parish's money. 

Church deacon Rob Merkx confirmed this to NU on Monday morning. The treasurer was suspended with immediate effect because he "abused the trust given to him in a very serious way", Merkx said. The church management has filed charges against the treasurer.

According to Merkx, at this time it is unclear exactly what was done to the money and whether it was embezzled all at once or over several transactions. "Whatever happens, he used the money. What exactly he did with it is not so important." the deacon said.  "The extended investigation is now in the hands of the police.

In a discussion with the deacon last week the treasurer confessed that the money was channeled into a third party's accounts, however he claims to have been the victim of cybercrime. According to Merkx, they did not find any viruses on the treasurer's computer.

The disappearance of the large amount of money has left the church in some acute problems, for example because salaries have to be paid within the next two weeks. Though Merkx believes that they will survive in the short term. "We can still borrow some money from a neighboring parish and the diocese may also eventually make arrangements."

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