Vatican auditor-general: did he jump or was he pushed?

The first independent Vatican auditor-general and the Vatican are telling different stories about why he resigned in June.

Libero Milone says he was accused of spying after opponents of Pope Francis’ financial reforms mounted a campaign against him.

The Vatican press office says Milone was “going outside his competencies and illegally hired an external company to undertake investigative activities about the private lives of representatives of the Holy See.”

“This, besides being a crime, irremediably strained the trust placed in Dr. Milone,” the statement said. It added that the Vatican’s internal investigation of his actions was conducted with care and respect.

Milone was appointed to the new auditor general role in 2015 during sweeping financial reforms led by Cardinal George Pell.

His five-year contract gave him authority to audit the books of any department in the Vatican.

Milone maintained an initial silence after his resignation, but later said he was forced out when his investigations uncovered irregularities, an allegation which the Vatican contests.

On the day he resigned, Milone says he met with one of the Vatican’s most senior officials who told him he was being dismissed. This followed a seven-month investigation by Vatican police.

Domenico Giani, the Vatican’s police chief, told Reuters news agency there had been “overwhelming evidence” against Milone. He offered no further details.

Milone says the evidence presented to him was “fake, fabricated” and that he was effectively being pushed out.

Milone has not provided any evidence of the irregularities he found in the Vatican finances.

The Vatican says Milone’s actions were not just criminal but had also “irredeemably damaged” the working relationship between the Vatican and Milone.

It also says it is surprised Milone has discussed his resignation as he had agreed not to do so.

Milone says, suspecting his office computer had been tampered with, he arranged for an external company to check for surveillance devices. The company discovered his computer had been the target of unauthorised access, and his secretary’s computer had been infected with spyware that copied files.


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