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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Four face trial over Calvi murder
Italian banker, Roberto Calvi
Calvi was chairman of Banco Ambrosiano
The first stage in the legal process to try four people over the murder of the Italian banker, Roberto Calvi, is under way in Rome.

Hearings - which may lead to a trial - were held for three Italian men and an Austrian woman charged with Calvi's murder in London, 22 years ago.

An initial inquest verdict of suicide was quashed and the case is unsolved.

If held, the trial is expected to expose the murky mafia underworld and financial scandals, correspondents say.

Prosecutors will claim Calvi - known as God's banker because of his links to the Vatican - was killed to prevent him revealing explosive secrets about Italy's political and religious establishment, the BBC's Tamsin Smith reports from Rome.

Inquiry reopened

Although the defendants were not required to attend Thursday's pre-trial hearings, one of them, Flavio Carboni, was in court.

Another, Pippo Calo, followed proceedings via video link from the jail where he is already serving two life sentences.

Roberto Calvi was found in June 1982, hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge with bricks in his pockets and $15,000 on him.

He had come to the UK on bail after having been convicted of corruption in Italy.

The City of London police reopened the murder investigation last September, alongside Italian authorities.

Calvi's family has always maintained his death was not suicide.

Vatican's banker 'was murdered'
25 Oct 02  |  Europe
'God's banker' case re-opened
24 Jul 03  |  Europe

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