2008_06_vatihat.jpg
Screengrab of NYPost.com's Follieri news item from last night--why no pope hat on the cover?

Scandalous details have emerged from yesterday’s arrest of Italian socialite Raffaello Follieri, who was dragged into federal court on a 12-count complaint that includes charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering. The allegations could net him nine years in jail, and because of that bail was set at $21 million, “to be secured by $16 million in cash and property and guaranteed by five financially responsible persons,” according to the Times. Follieri was also compelled to turn over all travel documents and will have to wear a tracking anklet when he leaves his apartment, but there must be a way to get it cast in gold and engraved with his monogram.

The Post has it that Follieri was carrying $15,000 in cash on him when he was arrested, which isn’t surprising considering the allegations that he’s habitually blown investors’ money on a lavish lifestyle that includes a $37,000/month apartment overlooking Rockefeller Center and extravagant vacations with Hathaway and friends. Prosecutors estimate that Follieri duped investors in his real estate company out of about $2.5 million to $6 million.

2008_06_vaticon.jpgThe allegation most treasured by the tabloids has to do with Follieri’s bogus claims that he was formally appointed financial manager for the Vatican, therefore able to buy Church property at below-market prices. To maintain the ruse, prosecutors say Follieri hired two monsignors to accompany him to business meetings. He also kept different ceremonial robes in his office, and once asked a monsignor to change out of his robes and don the robe of a more senior clergyman to lend a meeting more clout.

All the allegations are separate from an ongoing investigation by the New York attorney general into the Follieri Foundation, which is supposed to vaccinate children in developing countries but hasn’t filed required U.S. tax disclosure forms. Follieri's former girlfriend, actress Anne Hathaway, once sat on the board of the foundation, but is now distancing herself from the charity and her ex; NY Mag says everyone should go easy on her because she was blinded by love, just like in the movies. Immediately following yesterday’s court appearance, Follieri was rushed to the hospital after what his lawyer described as “some sort of attack.”