A high-ranking Vatican official has resigned from his post amid £180million financial scandal following purchase of London apartment block using Church funds.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu's resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in a statement issued by the Vatican late on Thursday.
In the one-sentence announcement, the Holy See said that the Pope had accepted Mr Becciu's resignation as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints 'and his rights connected to the cardinalate'.
High-ranking Vatican official Cardinal Angelo Becciu (pictured) has resigned from his post and renounced his rights amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly
Mr Becciu, the former deputy in the Vatican's secretariat of state, has been reportedly implicated in the scandal involving the €200m (£180m) purchase of a London property with Church funds through offshore funds and companies.
The money was used to buy an apartment block in Sloane Avenue during the cardinal's time as Substitute for General Affairs.
The deal is thought to have lost the Holy See millions of pounds in fees paid to middlemen.
The Vatican prosecutor has placed several Vatican officials under investigation, as well as the middlemen, but not Mr Becciu.
In June, Italian businessman Gianluigi Torzi was arrested by Vatican police on suspicion of extortion and embezzlement.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu's resignation was accepted by Pope Francis (pictured earlier today) in a statement issued by the Vatican late on Thursday
Mr Becciu, 72, has defended the soundness of the original investment and denied any wrongdoing.
He told Italian website Domani he was being forced out because he was suspected of giving Church money to his brothers.
'I didn't steal even one euro. I am not under investigation but if they send me to trial, I will defend myself,' he was quoted as saying.
'I said to the Pope: why are you doing this to me, in front of the whole world?'