Vatican Tribunal Rejects Auditor’s Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, Exposes Pope Francis’ Financial Reforms

ROME (AP) — The Vatican tribunal has dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the Holy See’s former auditor general, shedding light on the dark side of Pope Francis’ financial reforms. Libero Milone and his late deputy had alleged that they were forced to resign in 2017 after being extorted by Vatican police. They claimed that they faced the risk of arrest and prosecution for their work investigating the Holy See’s finances. The tribunal’s decision, released on Wednesday, rejected their claims and ordered them to pay restitution. The main target of the lawsuit, the Vatican secretariat of state, was found not liable for the alleged harm suffered by Milone and his deputy.

Milone and his late deputy had sought a compensation of 9.3 million euros from the Holy See. The tribunal ordered them to pay more than 110,000 euros in restitution to the secretariat of state and the office of the auditor general. Panicco, Milone’s deputy, passed away last year but his estate continued to be a plaintiff in the case.

The auditors alleged that they had discovered financial malpractice in the Vatican after Pope Francis initiated financial reforms. They believed that they were pushed out because their investigations and requests for clarification threatened certain cardinals and monsignors. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was the chief of staff in the secretariat of state, was identified as orchestrating their ouster. However, the tribunal concluded that Becciu’s actions were not official and that he was not responsible in his capacity as chief of staff.

Becciu himself was recently convicted of embezzlement by the same tribunal and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for his involvement in other Vatican financial dealings.

Milone declined to comment on the tribunal’s decision.