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Pope Francis and Cardinal BecciuVatican News

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, Cardinal Becciu testified that Pope Francis had personally ousted the Vatican’s auditor-general during a second day of questioning as part of a Vatican corruption trial.

Becciu, a former Substitute for General Affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State, is currently on trial in a $412 million fraud cause, having been charged with spending Church money on a failed deal to buy a property in London.

During a period of more than eight hours, Becciu responded to questions about decisions he made during his time as sostituto. He blamed his staff and cited lapses in his own memory more than once, and also alleged that Pope Francis was to blame for the departure of former auditor general Libero Milone in 2017.

It was alleged at the time by Becciu that Milone “went against all the rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, including me.”

“If he had not agreed to resign, we would have prosecuted him,” attested Becciu.

However, Milone and his team have responded since that time saying that they were “targeted” by the Secretariat of State due to what was being unearthed about Vatican financial corruption.

Until now, Becciu would not answer questions surrounding the departure of Milone, out of “love for the Holy Father,” but Pope Francis dispensed him from the pontifical secret last month.

Becciue was sacked by Pope Francis in September 2020 as information of his allegedly shady activity surfaced.

It is alleged that he channeled Church money, some from parishioners, to family members. Other defendants are on trial as well, accused of crimes such as extortion and money-laundering.

Vatican financial scandal

The Vatican financial scandal saga goes back to at least 2014 when Cardinal George Pell was appointed as the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy, and mandated to bring transparency and accountability to the Vatican’s financial situation.

Early on, Cardinal Pell said that almost 1 billion euros which were “tucked away” had been discovered. Milone was hired as the first ever auditor general and Milone’s and Pell’s departments discovered what looked like an attempt to conceal loans on behalf of the Secretariat.

Since then, Cardinal Pell was wrongfully imprisoned following a sexual abuse trial in Australia, only to be acquitted in April 2020 of all charges.

READ: Vatican cardinal spent $800,000 to discredit Cardinal Pell during sex abuse trial: report

While he was on trial in 2018, the Vatican sent more than $300 million  to Australia. A total of $1.7 billion was sent from 2014 through 2020, with the country’s bishops reportedly seemingly unaware of the transactions.

“We have one basic unanswered question,” Pell told Catholic News Agency in a phone interview in December. “We do know — this has been confirmed by Cardinal [Angelo] Becciu — that $2,300,000 [AUD] was sent from the Vatican Secretary of State to Australia.”

“The conference of bishops has said ‘no such money ever arrived, certainly, we didn’t receive it,’” said Pell. “So the unanswered question is: If the money wasn’t sent for something to do with my case, why was it sent?”

“But it’s a major unanswered question. And as I said, Cardinal Becciu confirms that the money was sent, and he believes it’s none of my business as to why it was sent,” added Pell.