Libero Milone was hired to fix the Vatican’s 2015 banking problems but what he allegedly ended up facing was threats and a forced resignation by prickly and paranoid clerics. Now he’s suing for $9.25 million.
The Daily Beast reported that Milone, a former CEO of Deloitte in Italy, was hired to bring the Vatican bank back into “compliance with international norms on money laundering.” Instead, he and his assistant say they were the ones who were falsely investigated, stolen from, harassed and ultimately shoved out, all for doing the work the Pope asked.
“We did the right thing, we never spied, we have been honest, we did what we had to do, but unfortunately what we had to do was very embarrassing,” Milone told Vaticanisti reporters. “I didn’t know that I would find cardinals putting money in their pocket, but I found it. And I told [the pope].”
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who served as the Vatican’s secretary of state, was the one who ensured that Milone was fired. It turns out he had his own scandal, accused of funneling $800,000 of the Pope’s charity funds into paying for the false testimony against Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was accused of sex crimes.
“The appointment of Milone, under Pell’s recommendation, came at a time when the Vatican Bank was under so much scrutiny the European Central Bank prohibited the use of credit cards in Vatican City because the bank didn’t qualify for basic norms to protect the transactions,” the report explained.
Milone thinks that he was fired to ensure the coverup of corruption with the Pope’s charity funds as well as ongoing theft from the collections plate. At the same time, he said, departments in the Roman Curia had gold bricks and coins but refused to allow him access to even count it for the audit. A former auditor said that the cardinal kept about $250,000 in plastic shopping bags from the donations. That’s the same cardinal who “accidentally” put that same amount into his personal account instead of the charity account it was supposed to be put into.
Milone said that when he told Pope Francis about the corruption, he was furious. The Pope went on to tell Milone to tell the cardinal that he was caught.
“This person became red. ‘But in my country, I can do what I like,’” Milone said the man replied. The cardinal then returned the funds.
Milone said that they planted fake evidence against him in addition to other kinds of harassment. His assistant characterized it as “a viper’s nest” of “financial malfeasance, papal hypocrisy about transparency and a reign of terror by bug- and-blackmail-prone gendarmes.”
“I was discovering things that somebody wanted to keep undercover,” Milone told reporters. “All these matters were reported to the pope. I wasn’t spying. I was doing my job.”
“I didn’t know that I would find cardinals putting money in their pocket, but I found it. And I told him,” he said of Pope Francis.
According to the New York Times, Vatican prosecutors opened a file on Milone for embezzlement “after a confidentiality seal was removed from the case.”
Milone’s fellow auditor, Ferruccio Panicco says that the Vatican even made his prostate cancer worse because they confiscated his medical records and then refused to release them. He said that it had cut his life short as a result.
Milone said that he hasn’t yet named names, but he’s willing to if the case goes to trial.
“Another antagonist for Mr. Milone was the commander of the Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, who also was the pope’s bodyguard and subsequently resigned over leaks related to an investigation into apparent financial wrongdoing in the Vatican,” the Times report said. “Mr. Milone said his office discovered that a refurbishing of Mr. Giani’s apartment ran to about 400,000 euros. 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.”
“Internal funds to pay personal expenses,” said Milone.
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