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Croatian priest dubbed 'playboy priest' goes to trial in his native land

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 13th, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It appears that his lavish lifestyle has finally caught up with him. Franciscan priest Sime Nimac of Croatia dubbed by many as the "playboy priest" has been formally charged with embezzling $1.7 million in U.S. dollars in the unlawful sale of church property.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nimac in the sale of church property in 2012 without Church authorities' approval. Nimac then allegedly withdrew the money paid for the property from the parish bank account, transferring it into his own, according to the indictment.

Nimac along with his alleged accomplice, Jasna Bilonic, pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial. The 35-year-old Nimac has been described by local media as an aficionado of elegant clothes and luxury goods. Nimac was a parish priest in Baska Voda, on the southern Adriatic coast.
 
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Nimac has been charged before a local court in the coastal town of Split, together with former bank employee Bilonic, believed to be his lover as well as an essential part of the scheme, a court official said.

The two are believed to have used part of the money to buy "valuable property," such as a yacht and a luxury automobile, the indictment said. If found guilty, both could face up to 10 years in prison.

When the scandal broke in 2012, the local archdiocese described Nimac an "insatiable individual" and apologized to the public "justly outraged" by his behavior.

The Catholic Church is highly influential in Croatia where 90 percent of the 4.2-million strong population is Roman Catholic.

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