The Prelate of the Vatican bank, Monsignor Battista Ricca, who is facing claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour, has offered to resign, according to an Italian news agency.

I Media, which specialises in covering the Vatican, say Monsignor Ricca offered his resignation to Pope Francis on Saturday, but it remains unknown if it’s been accepted.

Pope Francis, who appointed Monsignor Ricca to reform the Vatican bank in June, is currently on a tour of Brazil.

Earlier this month Italian journalist Sandro Magister, from the magazine L’Espresso, claimed Monsignor Ricca provided accommodation and a job for a male companion while he was assigned as a Vatican diplomat in Uruguay between 1999 and 2001.

According to Mr Magister, when Monsignor Ricca arrived he arranged for a male friend and captain in the Swiss army to live with him in the embassy, it is said that the “intimacy” of their relationship created a scandal.

Mr Magister also claimed Monsignor Ricca brought a “young man” back to the embassy and ended up getting trapped in a lift with him overnight.

The journalist stated that although the incidents were well known, they were deliberately omitted from Monsignor Ricca’s Vatican file, so that Pope Francis learned of the allegations only after appointing him to his position at the Vatican bank last month.

Mr Magister suggested this was done under the basis of their being a “gay lobby” to protect Monsignor Ricca.

In response, a Vatican spokesman dismissed the allegations as “not credible”.

Many Catholic commentators are saying Monsignor Ricca’s position is “untenable”.

The Vatican has not commented on the I Media report.