Australia's Cardinal Pell has been hailed as "honest George" in some Italian media reports which say he's back in Rome to enjoy the disgrace of ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who is accused of embezzling Vatican funds.
Reports this week also said Vatican investigators were ascertaining whether church money was used to persuade accusers in Victoria to pursue sexual abuse charges against Pell to get him out of Rome.
Backgrounding these reports is an alleged bitter feud between the two cardinals going back to when Pope Francis appointed Pell as his powerful money tsar to clean up the Vatican's finances.
Italy's prestigious daily Corriere della Sera speculated that Vatican investigators were examining whether Becciu wired 700,000 euros ($A1.1 million) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia and if that money was tied to Pell's sex abuse trial.
No sources or documents were cited.
A Victorian man who accused Pell of sexually abusing him when he was a choir boy in Melbourne in 1996 has denied he was bribed for his testimony.
Vivian Waller, a lawyer for "Witness J", whose testimony led a jury to convict Pell in 2018, said this week her client "denies any knowledge or receipt of any payments" and won't be commenting further.
Pell had to take leave of absence as the Vatican's economy minister in 2017 to return to Australia to stand trial.
Australia's High Court absolved him in April and he returned to Rome last week.
After release from prison, Pell said he knew of the "Vatican bullets for Victorian trial" charge but had not seen any documents about it.
He welcomed Francis forcing the resignation of Becciu, although without naming him.
Sources say Pell is in Rome simply to clear out his Vatican apartment but he will have an audience with Pope Francis.
Pell has not responded to an AAP phone request for comment.
Shortly before Pell's return to Rome, Francis requested the resignation of Becciu who until recently was very close to him.
Until two years ago, when Becciu was put in charge of the saint-certifying office and made a cardinal, he was effectively No. 3 in the Vatican, a sort of Minister of the Interior.
Among other things he was in charge of the Secretariat of State's finances.
A significant portion of these come from 'Peter's Pence', a yearly financial contribution to the Pope for charitable purposes from Catholics worldwide which until recently was estimated at over $A70 million a year.
In 2014 Francis surprised the Church's central bureaucracy, the Roman Curia, by creating a Secretariat for the Economy with Pell as its Prefect.
It was on the same level as the Secretariat of State which previously had reigned supreme, coordinating the other Vatican offices.
Pell said the church of the poor, which Francis wanted, did not have to be poorly run. He promised greater transparency and an end to financial shenanigans.
Many in the Curia welcomed Pell as a new broom, but not the old guard and Secretariat of State which was particularly annoyed when Pell gave an interview disclosing it had an unlisted money reserve.
There had been complaints about 'the Australian mafia' from the moment Pell arrived with other Australian staff.
He paid them what they could have gained working for non-Church bodies but some curialists grumbled that they were working for a Church body and should not receive more than they themselves did for comparable work.
Moreover, the brusque style of Pell, still described in Italian media as a 'rugbyist', irritated some curialists.
Days after Pell left Rome "to clear his name" in Australia, the Economy Secretariat's chief auditor, Libero Milone, was accused by Becciu of spying on him.
This may have been because Milone, perhaps inspired by Pell, was investigating Becciu's financial operations. Milone was harassed and resigned, with his appeal to Francis and his request for a trial ignored.
In a press briefing last month, Becciu said he had differed with Pell but their relations had been cordial until, in a meeting with Francis, Pell accused him of being dishonest, which made him lose his temper.
He said later that Francis told him he had been justified.
Now Becciu has been sacked because Francis credited investigators' claims he was part of a gang which had stripped the Vatican of millions of euros.
Becciu is accused of sending Peter's Pence money to his brothers in his native Sardinia. The family say he did not enrich his brothers but aided the charitable organisations they headed. This has been backed up by the local bishop.
Becciu admits he made errors but said he never profited personally and his demotion was disproportional.
The Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has reportedly said Pell's return to Rome only a few days after Becciu's demotion was coincidental. If so, it is a coincidence that a novelist might be wary of using.
Becciu's resignation looks like a confirmation of Pell's accusation of dishonesty.
But some still speak up for Becciu, the case is complex and the cardinal has requested a trial where he could defend himself.
Perhaps one result of the turmoil will be a decrease in Peter's Pence.
Australian Associated Press