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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
New tests 'say Calvi was murdered'
Blackfriars Bridge on the River Thames, London
Calvi's body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge
Long-awaited forensic tests into the death of Vatican banker Roberto Calvi - found hanging from a bridge in London in 1982 - are reported to show he was murdered.

Several Italian newspapers are reporting leaked findings from a report written by Professor Bernd Brinkmann, from Munster University in Germany.

The report has not been formally published but Mr Calvi's son, Carlo, said he was convinced the newspaper reports were accurate.

Roberto Calvi's death remains a mystery 20 years on
Calvi's body was found hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge in June 1982 and his family has always maintained his death was not suicide.

Calvi was head of Banco Ambrosiano - a private bank with close ties to the Vatican.

When he arrived in London, he was on the run, using a false passport.

His corrupt dealings had brought the bank to the verge of collapse with debts of more than $1bn.

Inquest verdicts

Calvi was a member of the secret right-wing P2 masonic lodge, and was also linked to the Sicilian mafia.

Two days after arriving in London, he was dead.

The coroner initially recorded a verdict of suicide but, under pressure from the family, a second inquest was called and an open verdict was recorded.

In recent years more evidence has come to light, suggesting Calvi was murdered by the mafia to stop him divulging damaging details about links between the mafia, the Vatican and P2.

Trio awaiting trial

Three men are awaiting trial in Rome accused of Calvi's murder.

Now Prof Brinkmann's report is understood to underline the case for murder, rather than suicide.

Calvi's son, Carlo, told BBC News Online the tests apparently showed there were no traces of paint, or other material such as zinc, from the scaffold on his father's shoes.

This lends credence to the theory that he was strangled and then simply hanged from the scaffold with his legs dangling.

Prof Brinkmann has not found any evidence of neck damage, which adds weight to our case.

Carlo Calvi
If he had shinned up the scaffold to commit suicide the soles of his shoes would undoubtedly have come into contact with the scaffold, leaving a forensic trail.

Carlo Calvi, speaking from his home in Canada, told BBC News Online: "Professor Brinkmann has not found any evidence of neck damage, which adds weight to our case."

Prosecutors in Italy will now examine this new evidence and are expected to use it against the accused, Francesco Di Carlo - a confessed mafioso who lived in Surrey, UK - Flavio Carboni and Pippo Calo.

Carlo Calvi said the trial was still some way off but he was more hopeful of obtaining justice for his father.

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