Libel fear calls halt to film on 'God's Banker'

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The Independent Online

A film about the 1980s financial scandal that nearly sunk Italy's banking system, shamed the Vatican, and led to the mysterious death of the banker Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London, is to be pulled from cinemas because it libels one of the real life protagonists of the scandal.

Flavio Carboni, a Sardinian millionaire who was Calvi's right-hand man, and who has been the subject of numerous police investigations into alleged links with Cosa Nostra and drug traffickers, took the case to court in Rome. He claimed the film, God's Banker, was defamatory, because it implied he was responsible for Calvi's, death in June 1982.

Calvi, who was chairman of the Banco Ambrosiano, which had close links to the Vatican, disappeared after his bank collapsed with debts of £1bn. The case brought to light unsavoury links between politicians, prelates, mafiosi, masons and the secret services. A London inquest ruled it was suicide but this was later substituted for an open verdict. Since then, speculation has raged that Calvi was killed by the Mafia for his financial incompetence.

Judge Marzia Cruciani, ruled the film "could give the impression, even if there are still judicial inquiries ongoing ... [that] Carboni was responsible for Calvi's death".

Mr Carboni is, in fact, under investigation with four others, including the man known as the "treasurer of Cosa Nostra" in connection with the death.