In 2017, Pell took a leave of absence from that role to return to Australia where he stood trial on accusations of sexual abuse brought by a single alleged victim. After spending more than a year in prison, Pell was vindicated by the Australian High Court earlier this year.
During his time at the Secretariat of State, Becciu was known to have a strained relationship with Cardinal Pell. CNA has reported that the two cardinals clashed repeatedly over Pell's attempts to reform Vatican finances and to institute reforms ordered by Pope Francis.
CNA has reported that in 2015 Becciu seemed to have made an attempt to disguise the loans on Vatican balance sheets by canceling them out against the value of the property purchased in the London neighborhood of Chelsea, an accounting maneuver prohibited by new financial policies approved by Pope Francis in 2014.
The alleged attempt to hide the loans off-books was detected by the Prefecture for the Economy, then led by Pell. Senior officials at the Prefecture for the Economy told CNA that when Pell began to demand details of the loans, especially those involving the Swiss banks Credit Suisse and BSI, then-Archbishop Becciu called the cardinal in to the Secretariat of State for a "reprimand."
In 2016, Becciu was instrumental in bringing to a halt reforms initiated by Pell. Although Pope Francis had given the newly created Prefecture for the Economy autonomous oversight authority over Vatican finances, Becciu interfered when the prefecture planned an external audit of all Vatican departments, to be conducted by the firm PriceWaterhouseCooper.
Unilaterally, and without permission of Pope Francis, Becciu canceled the audit and announced in a letter to all Vatican departments that it would not take place.
When Pell challenged internally the audit's cancellation, Becciu persuaded Pope Francis to give his decision ex post facto approval, sources inside the prefecture told CNA. The audit never took place.
Becciu was also responsible for the 2017 "resignation" of the first Vatican auditor general, Libero Milone.
Milone was fired in dramatic fashion by Becciu, who accused the auditor of "spying" on the finances of senior officials, including Becciu. The then-Archbishop Becciu threatened criminal prosecution of Milone if he did not agree to leave his Vatican office quietly.
Milone maintained that he was fired for being too good at his job, and because he and the reforming work of the Prefecture for the Economy were perceived as a threat to the autonomy and business practices of long-time curial officials. Milone said that he was dismissed on trumped-up charges after he uncovered evidence of financial misconduct under Becciu's leadership.