Ex-Vatican Deputy Auditor Dies While His Lawsuit Against the Vatican Is Still Pending

Ferruccio Panicco, who died Wednesday, jointly filed a $10-million lawsuit against the Vatican last November.

Ferruccio Panicco.
Ferruccio Panicco. (photo: Courtesy photo)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s former deputy auditor general who had been suing the Vatican for unlawful dismissal died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Turin, Italy. He was 63 years old. 

Ferruccio Panicco had a pending $10-million lawsuit against the Vatican that he had jointly issued with the Vatican’s former auditor general, Libero Milone, last November. 

They accused the Vatican of “breach of contract, damage to reputation and moral damage to us and our families” after they were dismissed from their jobs in 2017 for “spying.”

Both men have firmly denied the accusations and accuse the former No. 2 official at the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, of working with the Vatican police to force their removal by framing them on false accusations of spying and embezzlement after their auditing began uncovering evidence of corruption at the highest levels of the Roman Curia. 

In addition, Panicco contended that the Vatican caused him to suffer “very serious” damage to his health because personal medical records relating to “extensive diagnostic testing” he had received at the Vatican’s medical facility for cancer disappeared when his office was raided and then never recovered. This was despite repeated requests to the Vatican and Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to return the documents to the Gendarmerie.

Panicco then had to repeat the medical process in Turin, which he said delayed the diagnosis and jeopardized the curability of his illness, which turned out to be prostate cancer. 

“Statistically, I have no hope of a cure,” he told reporters last November in a meeting with Milone and lawyers. 

“I think they [the Vatican] are guilty, not maliciously, of condemning me to death for no reason after slow and significant suffering,” he said. “They took away 10 to 15 years of my life.” 

Limited to Panicco's oncological deterioration following the loss of his medical records, the claim for damages was 3.5 million euros, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. 

Since Panicco and Milone issued the lawsuit, they have criticized the Vatican for stalling and not seeking a resolution to the dispute, despite Panicco’s worsening health. 

“For me, this is a traumatic issue because it could have been resolved a long time ago,” Milone told the Register. “I’ve lost a friend and a colleague and a true professional whom I’d worked with for over 10 years.”