Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican.

  • Cecilia Marogna, 39, was arrested in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday and is awaiting extradition to the Vatican. 
  • She's accused of taking more than $500,000 from Pope Francis' charity fund and spending it on luxurious goods. 
  • Marogna worked for Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was fired by Pope Francis last month after being accused of embezzlement and nepotism. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An Italian woman with ties to a top Vatican official who was fired last month has been accused of taking more than $500,000 from Pope Francis' charity funds and spending the money on luxury goods.

Cecilia Marogna, 39, was arrested on Tuesday, Italian police and the Vatican told Reuters.

Marogna had worked for Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was fired by Pope Francis last month after being accused of embezzlement and nepotism, which Becciu has denied. Italian media suggested Marogna was 's secret lover. Marogna has denied the claim, according to The Daily Beast.

In an interview with Corriere Della Sera, translated by The Daily Beast, Marogna admitted to taking €500,000 ($585,000) from Becciu and the Vatican's charity fund over the span of four years.

She told the media site that she used the funds to set up a "parallel diplomacy" arm to help protect missionaries in conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East.

A senior Vatican source said Holy See magistrates told Reuters, however, that she embezzled the funds instead.

A leaked dossier seen by Corriere Della Sera alleges she spent €12,000 ($14,000) on a leather armchair, €2,200 ($2,500) on shoes and handbags from Prada, €1,400 ($1,600) on shoes from the luxury Italian shoe brand Tod's, and €8,000 ($9,300) on Chanel perfume. It's unclear exactly where the rest of the funds went. 

Marogna was arrested in Milan and is awaiting extradition to the Vatican.

Read the original article on Insider

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: