Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui Vatican
Holy See PR Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui triggered controversy with a series of racy tweets (Facebook)

The Holy See has been embarrassed by claims that Pope Francis's new PR had accused a senior cleric of corruption and said that Pope Benedict XVI had leukaemia in tweets she made before she got the job.

The Vatican has reportedly launched an inquiry into the hiring of Francesca Chaouqui, 30, who was appointed as PR officer for a new papal committee set up to overhaul the Vatican's financial administration in July.

Before securing the job, Chaouqui had extensively tweeted about Vatican affairs, often not mincing her words, giving rise to speculation that she had access to some degree of confidential information.

In a tweet in March Chaouqui described the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as corrupt and claimed that he was involved in dubious business deals with an unnamed company from the Veneto region.

In other messages she fuelled speculations over Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, saying he was seriously ill, and claimed that former Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti was a homosexual.

"I confirm: the Pope has been suffering from leukaemia for more than one year," Chaouqui tweeted in February.

"Tremonti held a [bank] account with the IOR [the Vatican bank]. They shut it down upon finding out he is gay."

After the tweets were republished in Italian media, her account was deleted.

She claimed that other people had access to her Twitter account and claimed that images of her tweets that had been circulating were fabricated.

"I'm not worried because the Holy Father is not worried," she told Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.

She previously worked as management consultant with Ernst & Young in Rome.