Saturday, August 18, 2007

P-2 Update: Roberto Calvi's Stolen Vatican Loot Found in the Bahamas,,2146847,00.html

Calvi case millions 'in Bahamas'
Nick Mathiason
August 12, 2007
The Observer

Hundreds of millions of pounds linked to the collapse of the Italian bank at the centre of the murder in London 25 years ago of Roberto Calvi, known as God's banker, have been found in the Bahamas.

In a significant breakthrough in one of the most mysterious murders and financial crimes, investigators say the money has been traced to offshore accounts.

Police sources in London indicate that the authorities in the Bahamas have been slow in supplying them with details associated with the accounts. It is understood that the situation has prompted the intervention of the UK's Foreign Office.

When Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in 1982, £800m went missing. The Milanese bank had close ties with the Catholic church, a secretive masonic sect and the Italian mafia. Calvi, its chairman, created a web of offshore accounts used to hide the bank's activities and losses.

Calvi was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge, in central London, with a length of orange rope woven into a lover's knot around his neck. His body was weighed down by bricks and he was found with £15,000 in cash in his pockets. In a decision that was ridiculed, the City of London police concluded Calvi's death was suicide.

Last June five Italians were acquitted of conspiring to murder Calvi after a 20-month trial in Rome, but it is thought prosecutors will appeal against this decision. Defence lawyers cited the initial assessment by British forensic science experts that the banker killed himself, claiming that it was still valid.

Jailed mobster Giuseppe 'Pippo' Calo - thought to be the mafia's treasurer - Ernesto Diotallevi and three others were charged with murder, which they denied. Trial prosecutor Luca Tescaroli has received death threats.

Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the former head of the Vatican Bank who could have shed light on the mystery, died in retirement in the US while the trial was under way.

City of London police investigators have been helping Italian investigators assemble evidence to convict those associated with Calvi's murder as well as help trace where money linked to the bank ended up.

It emerged that £45m associated with Banco Ambrosiano was found in the Bahamas three years ago. But it has now been established that that figure is much higher.

On 5 June 1982, two weeks before he died, Calvi wrote to Pope John Paul II, giving warning that the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano would 'provoke a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in which the Church will suffer the gravest damage'.

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