Decision on Vatican’s Ex-Auditor General Lawsuit Expected in December
Libero Milone is suing the Holy See for 9.3-million euros for unfair dismissal.
VATICAN CITY — A final Vatican hearing yesterday of the Vatican’s ex-auditor Libero Milone lawsuit against the Vatican lasted just 30 minutes, much shorter than expected, and a verdict is expected before Christmas.
Milone is suing the Vatican for 9.3-million euros for unfair dismissal, including 3.5-million euros for the loss of medical records, which Milone claims led to the premature death of his deputy and co-litigant Ferruccio Panicco on June 21.
Vatican police raided the offices of Milone and Panicco in 2017, just two years after they began their work. Milone was the Vatican’s first general auditor. The Vatican has never disclosed the precise reasons for dismissing them.
Milone has said he was “kicked out for doing my job, for introducing in the Vatican the most established auditing procedures,” adding that they “confused auditing with espionage.”
Milone’s lawyers claim they were forced to leave for several reasons, with three of the main ones being:
1) They required detailed documentation from the Secretariat of State that, in hindsight, would have revealed the Sloane Avenue London property scandal. The scandal, which incurred enormous losses for the Vatican, is now the subject of a major Vatican trial involving former deputy Secretary of State Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciù.
2) Their investigations uncovered questionable financing of an extension and renovation of a Vatican apartment where former Vatican police chief Domenico Giani lived with his wife and children.
3) They were working in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out the Vatican’s first external audit. The audit would have led Milone discovering many anomalies, including a web of corruption and financial mismanagement at the highest levels of the Roman Curia. Cardinal Becciù abruptly halted it just months after it had begun in 2016.
One of the key arguments Vatican lawyers are making in their defence is that the Secretariat of State had nothing to do with Milone’s hiring or resignation. The Vatican is claiming that it was, therefore, the Pope who hired Milone and then wanted him out, but the court has no right to judge his decisions.
However, Milone’s lawyers have said they have in their possession a document, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, explicitly hiring Milone.
The president of the Vatican tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, is now considering all the evidence and is expected to give his verdict on the lawsuit, possibly by early December.