November 11, 2022
The Catholic Church's
former chief auditor
says he was removed
for trying to expose
The ex-auditor told the New York Times he was pressured into resigning in 2017 after he was accused of abusing Church resources to spy on top cardinals and threatened with jail.
While he said he filed numerous reports of financial impropriety among cardinals and other Vatican officials, prosecutors "never, ever acted."
Pope Francis allegedly went from asking for personal presentations of the damning findings to shutting Milone out, even attacking him publicly.
While Milone declined to name names outside of court, he described,
One official he did name, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, is currently on trial for embezzlement, abuse of office, and defrauding the Church.
The Times he believes Becciu
was behind his firing, accusing the official of planting evidence
that was later used against him.
When he officially requested to see the evidence from the probe, he was reportedly told he had no right to it.
Earlier this year, the
seal was finally lifted and the Vatican reopened the probe. A
spokesman confirmed to the New York Times (below report) on
Thursday that there was an open file on Milone for embezzlement,
unsealed since the spring.
by Jason Horowitz
from NYTimes Website
from DNYUZ Website
Pope Francis meeting with Libero Milone,
now a former Vatican auditor general, in a 2016
photo released by a Vatican newspaper.
Credit - L'Osservatore Romano
via Associated Press
for wrongful dismissal after he said
he found cardinals siphoning off funds.
The Vatican has hit him with
a criminal investigation of its own...
On June 19, 2017, the Vatican gendarmes entered the offices of the church's chief auditor.
They confiscated his phone and iPad, threw his papers on the floor and ordered the fire brigade to smash open a locked metal filing cabinet, from which they extracted a document that they said proved he was abusing resources to spy on top Vatican cardinals.
Faced, he said, with being thrown in a Vatican jail, Mr. Libero Milone signed resignation papers.
In the ensuing five years, the Vatican has done much to clean up its financial act.
Angelo Becciu, one of the prelates whom Mr. Milone was accused
of spying on, and who Mr. Milone believes masterminded his ouster,
has himself been removed from his powerful position by Pope
and is on trial in the Vatican for embezzlement and abuse
of office and defrauding the church in connection with a disastrous
London real estate deal.
at the Vatican in August.
He has been accused of embezzlement
and abuse of office.
Credit - Alberto Pizzoli/Agence France-Presse
In their suit, Mr. Milone, the former chief executive of Deloitte & Touche Italy, and a fellow auditor, Ferruccio Panicco, who blames the Vatican for having contributed to the advancement of his prostate cancer and cut short his life span by confiscating and withholding his medical records, are seeking about nine million euros in damages.
They say the Vatican unjustly terminated their contracts, sullied their professional reputations and essentially blacklisted them in Italy, where, Mr. Milone said,
Mr. Milone's complaint
depicts what it calls a dysfunctional "vipers' nest" of Vatican
intrigue, financial malfeasance, papal hypocrisy about transparency
and a reign of terror by bug- and-blackmail-prone gendarmes.
Mr. Milone argued that
for all of the reports he filed about financial impropriety, the
secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Vatican
prosecutors "never, ever acted."
Earlier this year, during
testimony in his own trial, Cardinal Becciu emphasized that Francis
had personally demanded that Mr. Milone be fired.
The Vatican department overseeing church real estate investments repeatedly sought to obstruct him and hid its financial records, he said.
at the Vatican in 2017.
A few days earlier, Francis excoriated
supposed reformers who were instead
"corrupted by ambition or vainglory."
Credit...Angelo Carconi/European Pressphoto Agency
He said he found that one cardinal received 250,000 Euros in donations that he kept in a plastic shopping bag in his office.
The prelate deposited an additional 250,000 Euros, he claimed by accident, into his own personal account rather than into the account of the Vatican department that he ran.
Mr. Milone informed Francis, who was furious, and instructed him to tell the cardinal that he had been caught, he said.
Mr. Milone said the cardinal returned the money.
In Mr. Milone's telling, the main villain of the Vatican was Cardinal Becciu, who acted as the pope's chief of staff and who fought a war over transparency in the Vatican with the Vatican's former financial czar, Cardinal George Pell of Australia, an ally of Mr. Milone.
Cardinal Pell, whose supporters say he was tarred with a sex abuse accusation as part of the internal political war, pushed for the hiring of PricewaterhouseCoopers as Vatican auditors.
Fabio Viglione, Cardinal Becciu's lawyer, categorically denied Mr. Milone's accusations, saying the auditor's reconstruction of events was "completely unfounded" and likely to prompt a suit by the cardinal.
Mr. Viglione pointed out
that Cardinal Becciu had already testified in court that he was
simply following the pope's orders.
The complaint claims that Mr. Giani's portion of the expenses, about 170,000 Euros, was provided by a money transfer from the Gendarmerie, not by him.
Mr. Giani did not return
a request for comment...
speaking to a group of cardinals
in St. Peter's Square in 2019,
when he was the commander of
the Vatican gendarmerie.
Credit - Alessandra Tarantino
In 2017, the Vatican
claimed that it had conducted a more than seven-month investigation
into Mr. Milone for spying and improperly using its money for his
On Nov. 26, 2019, Mr. Milone officially requested to see the evidence compiled against him in the previous investigation into his apparent spying.
The Vatican's chief
prosecutor responded in a letter in January 2020 that Mr. Milone had
no right to the information, and declined his request.
Mr. Milone and his lawyers, who have been summoned to meet with the Vatican prosecutor on Monday, insist they are willing to go to court, even if, they acknowledge, the odds are stacked against them, especially in a monarchy ruled by the pope.