Relic's guards grilled

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The Independent Online
MAGISTRATES inquiring into the activities of the Archbishop of Naples were yesterday reported to have widened their investigation to take in the protectors of the city's hugely popular patron saint, San Gennaro.

Each year, thousands of Catholics fill Naples cathedral awaiting the liquification of the saint's blood, preserved in a vial. The failure of the blood to liquify is seen a bad omen and has preceded such events as the tragic earthquake of 1980.

Police searched the archbishop's offices yesterday in the presence of the archbishop's lawyer. Sources close to local magistrates said the investigation concerned claims of tax evasion and false accounting and involved other officials, including the local director of the charity Caritas.

The investigation is now reported also to include the Deputazione di San Gennaro, a committee of lay people who oversee the maintenance of San Gennaro's chapel and the management of the saint's real estate, much of it bequeathed by donors in their wills

The archbishop Michele Giordano, is under investigation by prosecutors in Lagonegro, Basilicata, inquiring into a usury racket.