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Life terms sought in Calvi death

God's Banker 'killed for taking Mafia money'

08 April, 13:01
Life terms sought in Calvi death (ANSA) - Rome, April 8 - A Rome prosecutor on Thursday requested three life sentences in an appeals trial on the death of 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi in London 28 years ago The three charged with premeditated murder - jailed Mafia boss Pippo Calo', Sardinian wheeler-dealer Flavio Carboni and Rome crime boss Ernesto Diotallevi - were acquitted in 2007 for insufficient evidence.

But the prosecution appealed, arguing that the wording of that verdict "prove(d) that this was murder".

Making his sentencing request, prosecutor Luca Tescaroli said the three were helped by the Mafia in staging the murder under London's Blackfriar's Bridge in 1982 to make it look like a suicide.

Tescaroli said Calvi was murdered "to punish him for taking possession of large sums of money belonging to criminal organisations". Two other defendants in the original trial, Carboni's former girlfriend Manuela Kleinszig and smuggler Silvano Vittor, are not on trial since their acquittals have been confirmed. Calvi had been a leading light in Italian banking circles for many years. In 1975 he became chairman and managing director of the Banco Ambrosiano, at the time Italy's biggest private bank.

His death was originally ruled a suicide but Italian prosecutors later accused the defendants of killing him in revenge for not paying back laundered money to the Mafia.

Prosecutors claimed there were at least three motives for the killing.

These included Calvi's mismanagement of the Mafia's money; the possibility that he would reveal how it was laundered by the Ambrosiano; and to gain leverage among Calvi's extensive network of contacts in masonic lodges, the subversive Propaganda Due (P2) lodge, Vatican bank Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR), political and institutional figures, and public-sector agencies.

Defence attorneys dismissed the claims as "fantasy".

A probe against former P2 chief Licio Gelli and ten others for their alleged involvement in Calvi's death was dropped last year, also on insufficient evidence. The investigation into the death of Calvi, who earned the nickname 'God's Banker' by working closely with IOR, was re-opened 13 years ago.

Calvi was found hanging under the well-known London landmark in June 1982, pockets bulging with banknotes and bricks. The suicide verdict came a few months after his death.

But a second autopsy indicated that someone put the bricks in Calvi's pockets before stringing him up.

According to theories aired over the years by informants, Calvi worked hand-in-hand with Mafia-linked banker Michele Sindona - killed in jail by a poisoned cup of coffee in 1986 - to set up a complicated web of banking and insurance interests.

Many paths were smoothed, the informants said, by his membership of the lodge led by Gelli, who, now 90, is under house arrest after receiving a 12-year sentence for the Ambrosiano collapse.

Prosecutors claimed Calvi was forced into a corner by his exposure to the Vatican Bank, then led by American cardinal Paul Marcinkus, who died in 2002 in Arizona.

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