Europe

Don Euro: Italian ex-priest jailed for extortion

An Italian former priest, known as "Don Euro" for his constant requests for money from his parishioners, has been jailed for extorting a former bishop.

Luca Morini, who lost his status as a priest after a series of scandals, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday.

He was also convicted of impersonation, after assuming the identity of a judge while hiring male sex workers.

He was cleared of other charges including extorting a nun.

Morini was the priest of Pontasserchio, a Tuscan town of 2,600 people just north of Pisa. At first he was thought to be good-natured, but soon earned himself the nickname Don Euro for his constant requests for contributions.

According to Italian media, Morini spent the money he collected not on his church, but on parties, clubs and diamonds.

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The extortion conviction relates to the former bishop of Massa Carrara, Giovanni Santucci, who was allegedly blackmailed into loaning hundreds of thousands of Euros to Morini and buying him a house.

Morini was also ordered to pay €14,000 (£11,800) in compensation to four men for assuming a false identity.

Prosecutors asked for a longer sentence but it was reduced because the court ruled Morini suffered from mental illness.

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