The Vatican’s Holy See has suspended its contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers but stressed that the suspension is not due to problems with PwC’s work.

The Vatican has been struggling to straighten out its finances and appointed the former chairman and CEO of Deloitte & Touche Italy last year to oversee a cleanup of its scandal-scarred bank (see Former Deloitte Italy CEO Appointed to Audit Vatican). Pope Francis has pledged to replace the bank’s top management, which has been plagued for years by accusations of corruption, financial mismanagement and money laundering. However, the suspension of the auditing contract with PwC may be a sign that the struggle to properly audit the Vatican’s finances is far from over.

A spokesperson for PwC’s Italian firm declined to comment.

The Holy See’s Press office released a statement saying, “The suspension of auditing activities is not due to considerations linked to the integrity or quality of the work initiated by PwC, let alone the intention of one or more entities of the Holy See to block the reforms in progress. However, issues have emerged regarding the meaning and scope of certain clauses of the contract and their methods of implementation. Such elements will undergo the necessary examination. The decision to proceed in this way was taken after suitable consultations between the competent bodies and experts in the field. It is hoped that this phase of reflection and study may take place in an atmosphere of serenity and collaboration. The commitment to adequate economic and financial auditing remains a priority for the Holy See and for Vatican City State.”

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