Former Vatican financial auditor Libero Milone filed charges on Nov. 4 against the Vatican Secretariat of State, demanding the Catholic Church pay for damages to his reputation that he alleges followed his unceremonious firing in 2017.

At a meeting on Nov. 8 arranged by his lawyer, Milone told reporters that Cardinal Angelo Becciu, once the third-highest-ranking official at the Vatican, was “the mastermind of the so-called operation eject-Milone.”

Milone was hired in 2015 by Pope Francis to look into the notoriously convoluted and troubled finances of Vatican departments as part of continuing financial reforms begun by Pope Benedict XVI. Only two years later, the Vatican announced that Milone had resigned in the face of accusations of embezzlement and of spying.

As Milone was ushered out, Becciu told reporters that the auditor “went against all rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, myself included.” Milone shot back, calling the cardinal “a liar.” 

According to Milone, Vatican prosecutors have now relaunched an investigation into his tenure as auditor, along with his deputy. Milone has been called for questioning at the Vatican on Nov. 7.

The Vatican did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

On Nov. 8, the former auditor framed his firing as a battle between “the Middle Ages and modernity” and called out “the small mafia at the Vatican” that was offended by his findings of lapses in the Catholic institution’s finances, including “many cases of rule violations, improper predisposition of accounting records, incorrect registrations.”

Milone said he is ready to share proof of the financial mismanagement he said he witnessed at Vatican-owned hospitals and in the church bureaucracy. He and his deputy, Ferruccio Panicco, are asking the Secretariat to pay nearly 10 million euros for reputational and mental damages.