Domenico Giani, Pope Francis’ 57-year-old chief bodyguard, stepped down Monday morning "out of love for the church and faithfulness,” according to Vatican News. Giani, who worked for the Vatican for 20 years, resigned to avoid hindering the probe into the leaking of a flyer that exposed the identities of five employees who were suspended pursuant to a Vatican investigation.
He bears no personal responsibility in the unfolding of the events, according to a statement released by the Vatican.
"Having always said that I would be willing to sacrifice my life to defend the pope, I took the decision to resign with the same spirit, and to not in any way harm the image and activities of the pope," Giani told Vatican News.
Vatican officials had been looking into alleged financial irregularities surrounding a money-losing London real estate deal that resulted in a loss of tens of millions of dollars.
Giani had signed the Oct. 2 police flyer after his agents raided two Holy See offices: the secretariat of state and the Vatican's financial intelligence unit.
The flyer, which was created to be distributed to Vatican police and Swiss Guards to prevent the employees from entering the Vatican, was then leaked to Italian magazine L'Espresso. Investigators are still working to determine the leaker’s identity.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.