Four may face trial as inquiry implicates Mafia over 1982 murder of 'God's banker'

Four suspects for the murder of Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London 21 years ago, could soon face trial, his son said yesterday.

"I think in the next few months there will be a trial against the four individuals who have been named," Carlo Calvi said. He added he was "very pleased" prosecutors in Rome had concluded that his father had been murdered.

Roberto Calvi - nicknamed God's banker because of his links with the Vatican - fled to London in June 1982 after the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, the bank of which he was president, with debts of US$1.3bn (£806m). Days later he was found dead, hanging from scaffolding with bricks in his pockets and stuffed down his trousers, and $15,000 in cash.

Thus began a mystery that implicated Italy's most feared crime gangs, the Sicilian Mafia and the Neapolitan Camorra, as well as the powerful "P2" Masonic lodge, known for years as Italy's shadow government, and the Institute for Religious Works, the Vatican's bank. It was said that the bank grew rich by enabling the Mob to launder huge sums through its branches abroad.

Last year, a controversial film about Calvi's death which showed him to have been murdered was forced off the screens after one of the four men named this week by prosecutors, the businessman Flavio Carboni, claimed that it damaged his reputation.

The first inquest into Calvi's death, carried out in the UK, concluded that he had committed suicide. But Calvi's family, including his widow and Carlo, also a banker, both now living in Canada, were convinced he had been murdered.

A second inquest in London returned an open verdict. Then, five years ago, prosecutors in Rome agreed to set up an independent inquiry to look in to every aspect of Calvi's death and the events surrounding it.

The inquiry got an unexpected boost when embalmed remains of the dead banker were found in Milan's Institute of Forensic Medicine, having been missing for 20 years.

The inquiry was headed by a German pathologist, and his team included a forensic anthropologist and a toxicologist. Last October they concluded that Calvi had probably been murdered and later strung up under the bridge to make it look like suicide.

The inquiry said the wounds on Calvi's neck were compatible with strangulation and that there was no evidence to suggest he had put the bricks in his clothing himself. Most damningly, they concluded it would have been impossible for him to have reached unaided the place on the scaffolding from which he was found dangling. Then in December, a Mafia supergrass called Antonio Giuffre told police that Calvi had been murdered because Mafia bosses were angry at the way he had mishandled their money. He said that Pippo Calo, a convicted Mafioso, was the man who organised the crime.

Now Rome's prosecutors have endorsed those conclusions. They have sent notices to the four suspects, giving them 20 days to reply to the accusations or face formal charges. The four are Calo, who is serving several life sentences in prison; Flavio Carboni, the businessman who escorted Calvi to London; Ernesto Diotavelli, a leading figure in Rome's underworld; and Manuela Kleinszig, an Austrian citizen and, at the time, a girlfriend of Mr Carboni's.

The prosecutors have adduced three motives for Calvi's murder. First, the Mafia decided to punish him for mismanaging their money. Second, to shut his mouth permanently to prevent his exhaustive knowledge of the laundering of Mafia funds from reaching the public domain. And third, as a way to silencepoliticians, civil servants, members of the P2 masonic lodge and senior figures in the Institute for Religious Works with knowledge of Mafia money laundering.

In reaching these conclusions, the inquiry studied the flow of funds through foreign branches of Banco Ambrosiano - in Panama, the Bahamas, Peru, Nicaragua and other countries - amounting to $1.3bn.

After the news of the prosecutors' conclusions broke, a former member of the P2 masonic lodge, Licio Gelli, said: "For me the event is already closed. Only God can tell the truth about it." But the family of Roberto Calvi retain their faith in human justice. In addition to a trial in Italy, they hope for a new inquest in the UK, because, Carlo Calvi said, "we would like to have the same results in the two jurisdictions".

THE SUSPECTS

The four named by the prosecutors have long been linked to Calvi's death. Known as "the Mafia's cashier", Pippo Calo, a Mafia boss serving life terms in jail, had an interest in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in laundered Mob money when Banco Ambrosiano went bust in 1982. Two years ago, Calo became the first Sicilian mobster publicly to acknowledge the existence of the Mafia.

Flavio Carboni was a wealthy businessman with Mafia connections and a former member of the P2 masonic lodge, who accompanied Calvi to London when the bank went bust. Last year he forced a film about the Calvi scandal, God's Bankers, off the screens. He had to deposit £1m with a court to compensate the film's producers if he was ever found guilty of Calvi's death. The others are Ernesto Diotavelli, a senior figure in Rome's criminal underworld and long-term friend of Mr Carboni; and Manuela Kleinszig, an Austrian described by Carlo Calvi as "one of Carboni's girlfriends at the time [of Roberto Calvi's death]". The prosecutors have a list of six other people who may be indicted, but have kept the names secret.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing