The generous sum came from a Paduan pharmacist who left €14 million to the Church when he died last year. The money was intended to go to the local branch of Caritas, a Catholic charity which offers humanitarian aid to the poor.
But when the priest, a 57-year-old who works in the village of Legnaro, was named custodian of the bequest, he ensured much of the money never made it to those in need, instead squandering it on personal luxuries.
Il Corriere del Veneto reported that the priest used the money to buy a car, a scooter, holidays in the Dolomite mountains and to Sicily, sporting equipment and expensive dinners. He even splashed out on cosmetic treatments for his mother.
The priest is thought to have spent up to €100,000 in total.
Colleagues noticed the sudden change in the his lifestyle and alerted police. The priest, named by local newspapers only as L.S.,is currently being investigated for embezzlement.
Authorities have taken control of the bequest while the investigation is underway.