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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Vatican's banker 'was murdered'
Blackfriars Bridge on the River Thames, London
Calvi's body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge
A top financier found hanging from a bridge in London 20 years ago was murdered, forensic experts appointed by judges in Rome to investigate the death have reportedly said.

According to media reports, the panel said Roberto Calvi, who was nicknamed God's Banker because of his close ties to the Vatican, could not have killed himself as originally suggested.

Roberto Calvi's death remains a mystery 20 years on

They said his neck showed no evidence of the injuries usually associated with death by hanging and his hands had never touched the stones found in the pockets of his clothes.

The results of the investigation, based on a new autopsy of Calvi's body, will be reviewed by two judges in Rome presiding over the case, who will decide whether to order a murder trial involving the mafia, reports say.

Investigators suspect Calvi was killed by the mafia for failing to repay their "deposits" on demand.

The findings have yet to be officially handed over to the tribunal, Rome prosecutor Salvatore Vecchione said in reaction to the reports.

Friday's findings appear to confirm the results of forensic tests carried out earlier this year which reportedly showed the banker had been murdered.

Financial scandal

Calvi's son, also named Roberto, was quoted by La Repubblica newspaper as saying that although he was convinced the mafia carried out the murder, it was on behalf of a third party.

"Behind the mafia, there's someone else," he said, adding: "The politicians who gave the order must be found."

Mr Calvi's body was found hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge in June 1982, days after the suspicious collapse of the Vatican-controlled Banco Ambrosiano.

His family has always maintained his death was not suicide.

When Calvi 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

The case developed into one of the biggest political and financial scandals of the post-war era in Italy, with widespread speculation about mafia involvement and links to a shadowy Masonic group, known as P2.

Mr Calvi's body was exhumed four years ago, following his family's insistence that he had been killed.

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

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.

See also:

19 Apr 02 | Europe
08 Mar 02 | Entertainment
25 Feb 02 | Entertainment
20 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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