Click this link. - Eamonn O'Neill

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e stands itr the hotel fayer lookinE

lost and sloDe, the [tan- who

Ei;es the lie to the belief that

dead men tell no tales. He is

Carlo Calvi, the SGyea*old son

of the infamous Milanese

I I barker Iiobeto Calvi, who was

found dead in June 1982, aged 62, hanging

beneath Blacl&iars Brjdge in London. At one

time Carlo was a succissfirl htemational

banl€r himself. Now h€ is the firll-time keeper

ofhis fatheis secrets.

He is sloall and intense, wearing clothes tbat

look as if tbey'we come fiom a larger man s

wardrobe. The leather bag he js carrying roakes

him look even slighter; the closer you get to

him, the more he seems to shrink Yet sPend

more ttran ive minutes in his quiet company

and you sense this is precisely how.he likes it

He s not out to imDrEss anvone or call attenbon

to himsell In facti on thii occasion he's in the

orocess of quiedv slippinq jn and out oflrDdon

io deal wit} wiat [i calls. withour a hint ol

imnv Gmilv business.

For more ihar two decades he s been prmunrg

iustice in his farle/s notorious case. The quest


more or less cosl hirn his marriage and

about $20m ofhis funny's considerable fortune

Carlo Catvi at BLckfriars Bridge in London, where

his hthe/s bodywas lound hanging in ,| 982. Four

peopL have now be€n charged with his murder

Recent news has convinced him he may be

close to some sort of enditrg. But tbrcugh ttre

- vears be's learned caution.

On Tllesdav March 16, 2004, {our individuais

went on tdal in a Rome court chareed with the

murder ofRoberto Calvi, the rnan whose sbady

deals with the Vatican led to his being dubb€d

God s banj


misguidedPoliticel"qli"d'a€mbition vanitv,,

huDeer for power, bottomless greed aad,

> time. And it's Bort of like an association ultimately-. paramia-and raw fear' Ite thread

,fi,hichexists tothis day: anasBooationHween that rsn tbrugh it ell was. a wa4)€d clesuje to

business, politics and the Mafia"

gi!'e his iam y rcsPectablity ancl secullty' DUt

dthoudl\ vou herdlv notice bis timbs in tbe it all unraveled i! an extraordimry way'

n"* "ni-tt6*" *,i "t*"es of his suil. C-a o

'Vby did tlings go so bad for your hther?'

oiu"Iydtop"iototh"-*uoationthehcthe I ask Crrlo. "B€ceuse he b€came ur€liable,"

i" "*"id"t"i o"" otC*.d^'s forcmost triath_ he sals' mekingthe adjective-sound like aqiEe

iJ""i"hi""gegroup. fr"might smileashe saF oD apar-with Eass mrrrder-.Hehas a Point In

it. but it s clearhe ia also codveyiDg amessagq the world in which his lather movect' tDBrs

do Dot undeestimate me His Gther was also erectly bovt 3erioG it wEs

a master at Eaking people miscalotate him Thebackdmp to aI this was corruPtion on a

esoeciallv his enemies i.D the hothouse world sc€le that bBs never beeD seen rn Euro-pean

;lili;bch fr"""". *d politicr' Tbat was intemationalfinence before or since' Roberto

""" "}fi. rfikl rt ** *tn ire was athis most Ca.lvi s partners in law-breaking were the

danqepus, becarue then he'd make his move. VaticanbealqtheMa6a. anlleli'ns€s€tsociety

s;-h. *id"t k"up rn ki"g noves for ever. loown as P2, andhis oun Miltn-based Baf,co

Ambrosiano. On one hand it is almost imltos-

Roberto Calvi was named bytho investig.tive sible to conv-ey the^sheer complexity ofthe

--[*b*iaiall"pi"t'i.bootr" C'oa'" tt -. scamshe pulled off: they.featured complex

as part ofa goupofricb, pou'erfirl and corrupt accourting procedures txat are stll beErg

m6n *ho could haue been bebind a plot to deciphet€d to this day- On the other hand they

murder Pope John Paul I in 1978. Yallop also allboiled dowD to tbe same thitrg: stealing lote

daimed thit Calvi's favourite book was The and [:ts ofmoney

i;odfather bv fvfatu puzo, and that he used to Whet is l@own with some certainty is tbat

uts";eopl. t" read it tike a holy text. "Then bv tbe time Roberto Cakiwenton the nm &om

""itt'*i"*u"i rtt"*.", ofthJworl4" he'd his native Itat in lg82 BetcoAmbrosienobad

iay.lhe irony was thar ialv;'s bible was pure collapsed with debts in excq,loi$.lq:ft,bss

E&oo, and fuzo hathf even met any a;tual beenalegdtl+aschairoeqcahihsdh+d

fra-rnoJi-f."nr*t t tt"tfirstin$afoe of himselfio sums running into hun&eds of

the sega" Yet, in a rwist no fictionwritercould milionsofdollars: butagei[ no.om is certain'

ever itiapate, 'prrt t .anci" Ford Coppola s frlm And ttrat is why this story-is so.a uriDg: for' 22

rf'" C.a'Aii* m *""td *d "p feat'.i"g yearsafterhis corpse was tund t'""g"g' Paflv

Roberto Calvi as a dooDed cbaraaer invotved s'rbmeaged in the fteezing1hames, secrets ar€

indarkdeedsintheVaticanwhoenrlsupba:rg- stil eEanating bit by bit' es-ifliom his grave

ing uderneath a bridge. Tt was the ultimate Roberto Calvi is relusing to be silenced

case oflife imitating art. then art imitating Me

ittfi" ary n"t"rt ca"i renains an enigma Io

u"lo"k th" ""oet of Robeto.Ce]vi

Conspiracy theorists project tbeir derk susPi- ]-you hao= to recognbe lhe


"'.""'""tJni-. na.'-".i" as a human porial I economic, socieland eligious world

iltoa.ll ibat sEysteriousand clorruPt.To Carlo in whiehhe operaled. DuriDgcalvi's

Cri'iUo*"u.'r, tt " .rtfticsl Mjfa-banker I mi-titary service he- was a loyal

under the bridse is someone else entireb: his MusEolini maD, a liscist and deconted wEr

&&erThisjsa;ideofthetz.letheworldsiedia vet€m! -Bot tlat this was uaususliD Itab' Posthas

neva herrd a$thine about - until now. war, es he started his climb througlthe raaks

No. h"" ,.n"oo."h""tl "bout the busrtress ofbanks, the US wes engaged in a cold-war

ded; C"rio;ttr"ssed at close quarters. "My batde$/ithEwopesncommuistsen4viethe

Arf-."".r"t"rtittt"Uitsto*i.i-aadstoDget CIA" happily fu.n::elled cash to a vanguard of

*r.".e.; rc lrys quietty He pauses, picturig lor*tltalianLusin-escm-enwtoprilratelyasswed

"*e"" thrr"*idly ",it tt;.faceitwyol i theiI American fiieDds the coEmunisls would

''lte"was a selFmide persoD, a verv warm nel"trgetatoeholdatthecombysballotboxes

nerson. He was a sood hther. He liked to do Roberto Calvi wes part ofsucb e group His

iardenineand thinse arouDd thehouse and the power bases were the Banco Ambrosiano in

Luntwh"ouse. He'soent a lot oftime lookiry in Milan an4later' a holdiug company based in

newsdoen. But hJwas verv e.frectionate. He Luxemboug. As his son explains: "lt was a

'*".]"6 uew hard-oorkine;d dvnamic. Catholicbarh because drat was iD tbebt-lav's:


"n* f" aofu"a bis studies, be tobeasbareholderrcquir€dr€pr€sentatiinby

**r into th" aiovbecruse he wanted to male the local prie* that youwere egood Catholic "

social contracts - and this wBs always a l.itde bit In 1929 Mussolini decreed that the Vatica!

ofa omblem with his ].ife. He alwavs warted to should be a city-state, which allowed the

ioiisocjslconnectioE. He \t€3 on tbe Rilssian churdl's badt to operate autonomoNly Tbe

ftont durinc the Second World War, and when repercussions ofthis were eNlormous: it meelt

he EturneJhe wmt to work for a banlt in t-be tbe richest church on esrth neverbad to filets

souah of Italv for a trumber ofvears. When he books, andwas allowed to opente an inde_

was hied dBanco Ambmsia;o, he gr€w in the pendentbarckingsysteruawayftomthegazeof

rar*" ard as he Erew, he made a number of ttalian b€nking insPectors. For Calvi. working

amuisitions. He tirned this Milanese baal - with Lhe Vatican b€r* wa3 obvioust atEa.tive:

uni thx wss in the Catholic area of inlluence hecoulddosowithoutatnzaingattedtionftom

alreadv. with a close relationship with the Italian authorities, yet could also enjoy the

vatica; - into the larcest private benL in Iraty. respectable ptina ofChurch pau'onage'

end riaCs wheo he Jtartid to have pmblems, The power behind the Vatics.n bank was

because he had the abitty to grow inside tle Arcbbishop Paul Marcinlus. a]€the c,orill4 a

orgs-oisation. bur he mavSt lad.ea tm .kils to six-fooFplus, l6-3tone ex-Americsn football

build aliances with other business grouPs player ftom Chicago. He larcrbecame fa:nous

within the oolitical world."

Ibraccompenying PopeJohn Paul tI abmad es

Tlis Dotted historv is predictablv


lopsided amindet andr*rasalsofrmousforstating:

with dire resnec,t to Cario. it would be hir to can t run tle churcb on Hail Marys."

sav tlat the short al}d dapper Roberto Calvi Despite his later denials, it is clear tbat from

-L- d*insworkincbouri atlesst, afrtan.ial the late sixties and early seventies MarciDkus

crook *d -e"entuallv a blacl@ailer of slmost was heavily involved with Calvi and other

ddiculous DroDottioDs. It's nowonderhewas banking cloob To givejust ooe example, the

a ch,sra4; H;rpl€'te in the last Godhthertlm Vatican banl cut a deal wiG Calvi's Banco

because ---t vou sir;pb couldnt have made him Ambro3ianointle€€rlysevmtiesqih€dittook

uo. W dtote lhi t i"dlv frtheFffgure iDio over the Catholic benk of venice. Any profrts

tliis oosition was a mjxirie of iniecurity, &om the sale went sbeight into boih men's



this da




and the


cofiers. The local archbishop i! venice, one

A.lbino Luciani, was ouhageil - but could do

litde. Lster, as Pope John Paul I, he was in a

;"i'r;;$;#',ffi" ;;;;;;;;;;

late sixties and early seventies MarciD.kus was

alloved to carry on wjtb his shady deals

Tn rgm MarciDkus became embroiled with

a businessman called Micbele Sindona in g-

fiaudulent Maffa bonds scheme involviag

hundreds ofmiltons ofdollan. When the FBT

came c€lling at the vetican to ask questions,

Marcinlars denied every&ing - aad the Vaticar

backed him up. Before long Marcitrkus was

also servins on the boatd ofBsnco Ambrosiano

- and Sindona, who had links with Ue GambiDo

crime family in New York. was acting as an

informal financial adviser lo the Vatic€.n. His

setret sDecialitvwas ltunderine US rad Italian

rUafa doney t5rcugh the \htican lruk - which"

of cour:e, was beyond norrnal scmtiny





",^s Banco Amhosiano glew and mv frther

became the chief executive, the relationship

atso srew with the top of tle Vatican bank -

whic-h was Archbishop Paul Marcinlus.

exptains Carlo Calvi. "The Vatican bank, vou

see, offered opportunities as a tax haven for

Banco Ambrcsiano-"

The Vatican banl itseu, mearnvbile, needed

Banco Ambrosiano to help give it an international

financial malket rating: becalrse it

didn't Dublish its own accoults, it couldn't

achieve t-his statrx on is own. Sometimes' Carlo

adds, the Vatican bar

oa.os.ol rue nrnaro vnoazrlt 11


> New York; the other was a m€mber of the

Italiar intelligence. And they were alJ there.-at

the me€titrd witb the Vatican ambassador to Lhe

United Nations. You have the Mafia, vou have

Italirn intelliAence and the vatican, all in on€

place. lfl hadn t ti!€d that personal expcrienc,

nvser. l wor-rldn t believe it.

ihe ma]I who headed the P2 organisation

was a Ma.ia-connected businessman named

U"io C"lli, a bscist, Fiend to Nazis in Germanj

and later in South America, and general allromd

blaclmailer and gargster' P2 had abou -

2,000 membels: Gelli s agenda was to promot€

extreme righl-wing po'ver in.ltaly atrd to

enhance power arld wealG for himself On' of

hjs tavourite sayinqs w?s All balk rault doon

open to the riq[t.' The fu]l membeEhip list of

tiz was loown to ootv C,elli: ;Isomeooe stePped

t rl

out oI line Ibev would be blackmailed ard

threatened with ruin - or tllanls to his Mafia

lmks, murdet


The dear advantage ofbebg a member of P2

for someone like Roberto Cslvi was access to

a network ofiifluence. Some powerful men

had been bom into this world - b|.rl calvi hadnl

ard he needed all rhe friends he could muster'

The dowaside was the constant worry that tie

r"-" 11s\ ' &ignl5 could stab him in the back

whenever it suit€d them. Carlo sawthis at close

ouarters: "The Foblem wiih P2 was tbat tley

oroyided ttris irtermediary, but they also put

ihe squeeze on thel members.

Eventuallv Boberto Calvi was tarseted. tlis

felo\r P2 m€mber Michele Sindona bad been

arrested jn Amenca on a range of charges and

was &ced with extradition to Italy, and started

ba|assroe Calvi for support and mooey asking

hr to D;t Drcssure oi de ltalian authorities

I n ,l h ca-rry oul ftc extradition. He $'as also

r^rrrious ibour whether Calvi was 6lling the

v*r,ro lefi bv his absence and dealhg witb

tb€ Vatican b'ank. To keep him on his toes,

Sindona pressured him to provide more and

mor e frrnds - meantug Calvi particiPated in

even rlore crooked deals.

Bv 1978 Roberto Calvi's schemes were

lpsinninq ro qet crazy. Sindona wss still stuck

in ih. US. anJbeean publidv threate^ing Calu

t* "ry nisir:g a pJasti:n ng of M ilaD $alls witi

uoslers hlacl@ailins hin, in a bid to ensure be

;Hll danced ro bis tune. Meanwhile marv of

Calvi's other P2 friends, seeing his gilt for

rnaking money legauy, had begrin-to demand

lheir slice of the action. His tu)ancisl reputEttoD invistisatGE

he{an to suffer - and so. to prop up his ban}t s

.inkine .hE e pric€, be cr€ared a phoney holding

cornnany which .tarted payi-ng over th" odds

lor ilnes in his institution. In effect, he was

buying himself It was the act olan increesingly

hen fate intervened. At 9.40pm on

Sunday August 6,1978, PoPe Paul\'I

di€d. Tlventv days lzlt€r, his succ€ssor

Albino Luciarli - lobn Paul I rtas

elected. This choice chilled Roberto

Llalvi. H€re was a new kind ofleader: one with

whon he'd already bad a mn-in over the sale

ofthe Venice bank.

Accordinq to author David Yalop, John Paul

I was determined to clear up the fi]Iaacial

wronsdoinss of the vatican bark. Yallop s

evidence is considerable and, ifvou buv it

Roberto calvi mav have had a hard in killing

Jobr Parn I. Eithdr way, in little nore tha, a

monih ihe new Pope was no more: he clrecl mystenouslv

on the nieht ofSeptember 28,1978.

fte n;v dissepancies in th; vatican s account

ofwho foud thi body and tbe ctcumsLances

in which it vas found have done littl€ to quell

the consDiracy theories since.

After the niw Pope's demise, the men he'd

been plarning to tue - includirg dre head of

the Vatcan banl, Paul Marcinkr,rs - stayed puti

12 rre rrnaro uaeazteoe.os.ol


{ ,l






likewise, Roberto Calvi continued with his

sbadv deals. But he was a-lready on borrowed

rime aad. despit e his powerfirl P2 6-iends. sa\

his Barro Ambrosiano raided by increesj,ogJy

susDicious police itr Milan inJanuary 1979 An

iudee and iournalist were

rnu'd.L.l, ii or[e's link;d witb Michele

Sindona's extradition fiom the US were also

killed - but the law prevailed, and soon

investiEators had linlid the Vatican s Paul

Marchkus with financial kickback &om the

Ma-ha. M ichele S bdona was found gu ilty of65

coutrts of6-aud h A.merica and was sent back

to ltalv ro face fiither cbarses there. He died

in pri;n in 1936 a-fter drtuking poisoned coffee

- the same metlrod Yallop alJeges uas used to

murder Pope John Paul I-

ln 1980, Iioberro Calvi had his passporl seiz"d

by the Ttalan aut}orities. \44thin the vear he

had been arrested on currency violrtion durges

It ln\ mor€ or l€ss &e end ot t-he road: he .ould

no longer supply eodless casb to everyone so

his useirlness was eoDer the Vatican couldn l

protect him any longer; and his P2 aad Maia

associates saw him as more ofa liabiliry *l| an

assel. He was, a5 Carlo er.?lahs. unr.Iiable: Ln

order to defend himself at the bial, he would

have had to name names." None ofhis enemies

could alow lhat lohappen, so someone, somc

q,here. took the decition to murder him.

The tull facts ofRobeto Calvis finalloumey

to his death in Jun€ 1982 will be aired at the

o-ial of tie four accused ir Rome later this year.

They are Flavio Carbone, a Sicilian busines'

man; his then girl6:iend, Manuela Kl€inszig, an

Austrian: a Rome underworld boss named

dedde5, Carto Catvi

hop€s he witt finatty

see justice done. 'We

have the opportunity

to took at the evidence;

to took frcm the basic

evidence up,' he sayg

Ernesto Diota-llevi; and a Ma.fia boss named

Pippo Calo, already sewing time in jail for other

.;mes. What is linown is that, durins his

desperate 6nal weeks, Calvi was talking rmcbar

act;risticallv looselv about how funds from

dubious sources w€re passirg *roug! equal ly

dubious Vatican ban-k accounts; he was also

trvins to {und a P2 sponsored arms buJing

oroiect in Areentina, which r.vas then battlhg

iu ur over ihe falklaid Islands. But he was

livinq on vapoun

Deispite his lack o{ a pas uft. Calvi s P2

associates arranqed for him to be taken to


l-ondon on false iretences fed him all

sorts of informatibn convincing him he had to

go," says Carlo. "In Inndon they bad a criminal

base." Some of those associates accompanicd

Carlo's father to I-ondon. ard he was dumped

in a small rented room in Chelsea. IIis impov

erished surroundings must have brought hom€

to him his dire straits.

Unbeknown to him, one ofhis sccretaries

back at his banl's Milan HQ was "suicided'

'rnndon. iust hours before he himsell was murdered ir

To tJris day fcw rcalJy b"lieve tlut *ri'

woman, named Graziella Corrocher realb

Lilled hersetf by jumping out of th" banl. '

iourth_floor window

Twenty-two years later, travetting by taxi

alone th'. roulc from ChelsFa to Black-friaF

Bridse with thc murdered banher's son i' a

*obeing experience. wheo we fually arrive a

lhe dcath sclne next to r he bridge. he ctand' a.

the edse ofthe RiverThrmes a rd explains how

he fiin-k' it aI happ.ned. -l 'clicve thal he was

.LLcn and *as ldllcd in a brdding site nca.h.'.

HeNrs stf.nele.l. hc savs. "lhenhet'ast*en

\\ith u sm.ll boal lo a spol under thc brklgc li

w,rshigh tidi: urcltber limc\\'it \\1n,ld eodo\ur'

tl€ i\.as in the wnter r]P to bis chest.


u'hcn the fi.l. retrcakrl lhc tollovin(

nnr n;rs, Itoh(r Lo alah'i\ras slotterl by a (ljla

r lerl irN liiDs r. \11!]t Ir \\is;.iia)am onJrne

lS lll: IIc Nas lnlqn,B b! his Decl( liorn r,

ilm. rhr.e looi l( lrg n""lon n rt ). atlach{{l lodre

rrr tL sirlr ol Lhe briclqi: lvilhnr hours fla iND

rnllcr . srnmonr:d iom lilrnle. h.rd f ntili€d

l, nr:rs Lircrr lirgitile bank{rr Hjstalscp^ssport

rrn!,rl Iini as r Nlr Lliarr R1,beflo ( lrllvnn il('

.i,l iLh!.,si

'.ri. r(l{l in S!'lss 6ant q en.l ilS

d.lir,:: .nh ':'l; \'as ir ll, i[sh cun srcr flis

Irricl, Philiupe \\'fisl\rat.h had been corr ocle.l

hv th. rhr!res anrl slolrfed at 1.52am. but r!

rrock:t rvatch hail Lickcd rnrlil5 lgarn Hc had

'evenpretsof stone rocksandl,rjcls strrlTr:d

rft. his t,ockets and Iis 1r(nrsol"S.'r'hcse harl

srmk him irti) the r\,er rntilthi'ti.lc hr.lgon.

dorm. ,\ sogev addtess borrk page. nPp..l at

thc {lgcq. rn.nlidred trpical Calvi contacis: a

ro!.mrrcnt nrinisler. a baDlier'ancl sonrcon.

h,)In (hc\hhc r 'I)rr:'e $,as a1s,, aganr. in e

,rt)if.{h rnvnefloLLS (llL]!r t1\.sl a crrd.hr)m

, !.tjn(i.r, s,ili{riLor' \to. L$'o d..adcs ra(cr.

|;,i rLnr\ hf n.\1,, in.t thr l)ank.. nr his liie.

Ir lils: ( l|! lo Cllh i \\,es | :! \€aFrld liqh

r{ '.'\" I' r nr

..\ lii, l,iq ,n,nlx'r ffd srstcr: ll sc.rns tbal hi.

1aih.r: nrrcasingh a$llrr: ofLhe cnd to comc

lud slrcnlr smalln, Lltre inaknrg sulc his l,rnih

. ,r . , 1- -" r ,1,-,1,i

n.. tl". rrll"r' " '1;r'-'1' h

\\Jal(:rgatc aparhncrl comlncr. whefe thc]


I| .., Irl "l," i' io'

'rr l,r'r. rr|n l,. n 'r'. nP

, . r . r t , " . 1 , . 1 i i n

hcn hr: died, ltobrto (i.ri"r lefi

dcbls ,if Si.'lnr' IloneY had

v;njshed lch,I ighr a,rd f{rntre

rlc had mademary Powertul

enemir:s. l}c choicr: ol Black

liiars llr:.lge has .ncoll ragecl sotrx Lo(onsidcr

the nossibilii\' he tras nlurdercd as a nrasonx'

Dloi " f.ooli, there :lre senLols there oD the edee

(n lhc l,ndg.i. (lanyou sc. them?' asks ilrrlo.

T (rrnless | .an t scc anvrhing lT. sniles

prtisrtlv ancl confesscs hc is atso uDccr lain

ubort thc nasonic angle. lI. isn l s re thc

\hricrn w.1s n1\olvcd in lhe dcatlr tiiher brl

hr: does 'av thal rctilcd,\fchbishop Panl

MarcirLin,s should L€ dill b,oughL to bo

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