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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
'God's banker' case re-opened
Italian banker, Roberto Calvi
Mr Calvi is thought to have upset the mafia and the freemasons
Italian prosecutors have concluded the Mafia murdered the Italian banker, Roberto Calvi, who was found dead more than 20 years ago.

Prosecutors have named four people suspected of carrying out the killing, and they have been given 20 days to reply to the accusations or face formal charges.

The original coroner's report said that Calvi, who was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London, had committed suicide.

He was known as "God's banker", because of his close links with the Vatican.

Those now facing a murder charge are Pippo Calo, a Mafia gangster already serving a long prison sentence, Flavio Carboni and Ernesto Diotallevi, described as go-betweens and Mr Carboni's Austrian girlfriend, Manuela Kleinszig.

Mr Carboni's lawyer, Renato Borzone, has already responded saying there is no proof Mr Calvi was murdered, adding that "prosecutors are relying on a phoney testimony by Mafia turncoats" to make their case.

"Today, a new battle begins to find the truth on Calvi's death," he said.

Grim demise

Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge in central London in June, 1982 with bricks in his pockets and $15,000 on his person.

After the initial suicide ruling, a second coroner returned an open verdict on the 62-year-old banker.

Rome prosecutors agreed to review the case last year after an independent inquiry concluded Calvi had not killed himself.

Calvi key dates
1971: Becomes president of Banco Ambrosiano
1981: Convicted of corruption, but bailed pending appeal
11 Jun 1982: Leaves Italy with a suitcase full of documents
19 Jun 1982: Body found
Jul 1982: Suicide verdict
Jul 1983: Open verdict at second inquest
1997: Italian police charge two with murder
Oct 2002: Forensic report says Calvi murdered

Mr Calvi's son, Carlo, was 29 when his father died and now lives in Canada.

He says he has said all along that the Mafia was responsible for his father's death.

"From the beginning we had identified criminal elements of the Mafia living in London, as having organised my father's murder," he told the BBC.

"Of course we think that this is at the level of the executioner and that the murder was organised by politicians. The Mafia had simply the role of carrying out the murder."

Calvi had worked his way up the corporate ladder to become director-general and president of the Banco Ambrosiano, which he transformed from a small regional bank into a major international player.

At the time of his death billions of lire was owed to the Banco Ambrosiano by several Panamanian companies which were linked to the Vatican's Institute of Religious Works.

The Vatican denied legal responsibility for the bank's downfall but acknowledged "moral involvement", and paid $241m to creditors.

The bank collapsed in a scandal that implicated the Mafia and international freemasonry.

In their report, prosecutors say they believe Calvi was murdered by the Sicilian Mafia and mainland Italian mobsters, the Camorra, as punishment for pocketing money they had asked him to launder.

The BBC's Jane Bennett-Powell
"The biggest banking scandal in post-war Italy"

Vatican's banker 'was murdered'
25 Oct 02  |  Europe

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