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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Calvi murder trial opens in Rome
Italian banker Roberto Calvi
Prosecutors believe Calvi's murder was ordered by a Mafia boss
Five people have gone on trial in Rome charged in connection with the alleged murder of Italian banker Roberto Calvi in London in 1982.

One of them, Pippo Calo, a man known as "the Mafia's cashier", is already serving a life term in jail for unrelated Mafia crimes.

Calvi, dubbed "God's banker" because of his ties to the Vatican, was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.

The trial was adjourned until November for procedural reasons.

Rome prosecutors had reopened the case in 2002 after ruling out suicide.

Businessman Flavio Carboni, his former Austrian girlfriend Manuela Kleinzig and Ernesto Diotallevi were all charged in connection with Calvi's murder in April this year.

But a fifth person, Silvano Vittor, who acted as a driver and bodyguard for the banker on his last journey to London, was told he would stand trial only last week.

Along with Mr Carboni, he is believed to be the last person who saw Calvi alive.

Before the trial opened, his lawyer said he would push for an adjournment because he needed more time to prepare the defence.

'Suicide'

The defence lawyers' line is that Calvi took his own life.

CALVI KEY DATES
1971: Becomes chairman of Banco Ambrosiano
1981: Convicted of corruption, but bailed pending appeal
11 June 1982: Leaves Italy with a suitcase of documents
18 June 1982: Body found
July 1982: Suicide verdict
July 1983: Open verdict at second inquest
1998: Calvi's body exhumed
Oct 2002: Forensic report says Calvi murdered
July 2003: Italian prosecutors name four suspects
Sept 2003: City of London Police re-open investigation
Mar 2004: Four appear at pre-trial hearing in Rome
April 2005: Four people charged with murder in Italy

"There isn't the slightest proof that it was a murder and there are many indications that it was suicide," AP news agency quoted Mr Carboni's lawyer, Renato Borzone, as saying.

They also argue the whole case is based on testimony by Mafia turncoats.

But investigators believe Calvi had been laundering money on behalf of the Mafia.

The bank he was the chairman of, the Banco Ambrosiano, had close ties to the Vatican and was on the brink of collapse following a devastating scandal.

Calo allegedly masterminded Calvi's murder for fear he might reveal secrets that would have harmed Italy's political and religious establishment.

Roberto Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding, his suit stuffed with bricks and thousands of pounds in cash.

At the time of his mysterious death, the 62-year-old financier was on bail after being convicted of corruption in Italy.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The mystery surrounding Roberto Calvi's death



SEE ALSO:
Four charged over Calvi killing
18 Apr 05 |  Europe
Vatican's banker 'was murdered'
25 Oct 02 |  Europe
'God's banker' case re-opened
24 Jul 03 |  Europe


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