Pressure mounts for Calvi death trial

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The Independent Online

A trial for those suspected of killing Roberto Calvi, the man known as "God's banker", whose body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London 21 years ago, drew a step closer yesterday when Italian prosecutors were reported to have concluded that he was murdered.

The four men suspected of involvement in his death have already been told of the prosecutors' conclusions, though they have yet to be indicted. Three are businessmen and the fourth a known Mafioso.

Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding under the bridge in June 1982, and the immediate assumption was that he had committed suicide.

He had fled Italy days earlier, after the bankrupting of the bank of which he was president, Banco Ambrosiano, in which the Vatican held a large stake. It was the collapse of an immense, secret web of financial connections in which senior Vatican figures as well as the Mafia were involved. It was the biggest banking scandal in Italy's postwar history.

Calvi had good reason for despair, and the conclusion of the first autopsy, carried out in London, was that he had killed himself. But last year a panel of experts concluded, after five years' work, that he was probably murdered.

There was little new the panel could glean from his embalmed remains - discovered in 2001 in a cupboard at Milan's Institute of Forensic Medicine after going missing for 20 years - but after studying the circumstances of his death they concluded that suicide was impossible.