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Italian Archbishop faces three-year jail sentence
    Italian prosecutors have asked for a three-year prison sentence for Naples' popular archbishop who is charged with loan-sharking and appropriating church funds.
    Cardinal Michele Giordano, who is the highest-ranking church official ever to stand criminal trial in Italy, says he had expected the lawyers to demand a similar prison term.
    Prosecutors allege the cardinal supplied about $A1.4 million to finance a loan-sharking ring run by his brother and appropriated another $A813,000 in church funds.
    Prosecutors at his trial in the southern city of Lagonegro have requested the prison sentence on accusations of usury and criminal association. Cardinal Giordano was not present.
    The prosecutors have also asked for a two-year sentence for his nephew, also accused in the alleged scheme.
    Cardinal Giordano, known for his preachings against usury, maintains his innocence.
    The Vatican has made no comment on the merit of the allegations, although it has protested about the handling of the two-year investigation after investigators searched the Archbishop's office and bugged his phone.
   
Ananova
   
19-Dec-00