The first auditor general of the Vatican and his deputy are suing the Secretariat of State for $9.25 million in damages.
Libero Milone and Ferruccio Panicco are seeking compensation for loss of earnings, damage to their reputations, and emotional suffering.
Milone and Panicco told reporters this week they also would submit records documenting financial crimes by senior Vatican officials, including embezzlement of funds.
Before coming to the Vatican, Milone had been chairman and CEO of Italy’s Deloitte global accounting firm. He had also worked for the United Nations. He was appointed auditor general at the Vatican in 2015 and told to resign two years later.
Three months after suddenly stepping down in the middle of his five-year mandate, Milone said he was “threatened” into resignation by an “old guard” opposed to his work.
The Vatican responded with “surprise and regret” at this allegation, and Pope Francis used his 2017 Christmas address to criticize people who “betray the trust put in them” and “wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a ‘Pope kept in the dark,’ of the ‘old guard.’”
The man said to be responsible for the firing of Milone, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, told Reuters in 2017 that Milone “went against all the rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, including me.”
Becciu is currently on trial for alleged financial crimes and was forced to step down in 2020 by Pope Francis. He maintains his innocence.
In May of this year, he pointed to Pope Francis regarding the question of removing Milone. In a court interrogation that lasted almost eight hours, Becciu told a prosecutor the pope had called him to a meeting in June 2017, where the pope claimed that he no longer had trust in Milone and therefore wanted Becciu to contact the auditor and tell him he must resign.
According to Becciu, the pope also expressed regret for entrusting him with “these thankless tasks.”
Milone in turn is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Vatican. Spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed to the New York Times that the Vatican’s prosecutor had an open file on Milone for embezzlement, “after a confidentiality seal was removed from the case.”
Milone’s former deputy, Ferruccio Panicco, accuses the Vatican of withholding medical records, allegedly thereby reducing his ability to seek treatment for prostate cancer.