A cleric formerly assigned to the Vatican finance office is among three people arrested Friday for allegedly attempting to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) in cash into Italy.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano was recently relieved of his duties as a senior Vatican accountant after the Holy See learned that he was under investigation for money laundering.

The others taken into custody are financial intermediary Giovanni Carinzo and Giovanni Maria Zito, an erstwhile member of the intelligence division of Italy's militarized national police.

The investigation leading to their arrests was part of a wider probe into the operations of the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, the Vatican's bank.

The smuggling case, however, does not appear to involve the IOR.

The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis has named a five-person commission that in the coming months will investigate all that goes on in the IOR, involved for years in a series of financial scandals, with a view to its possible reform. EFE