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Five acquitted over Calvi death


A court in Rome has acquit­ted all five defen­dants of mur­der charges in the 1982 death of Rober­to Calvi, known as “God’s Banker” for his Vat­i­can ties.

Mr Calvi, the chair­man of a pri­vate Ital­ian bank, Ban­co Ambrosiano, was found hang­ing from scaf­fold­ing under Lon­don’s Black­fri­ars Bridge in 1982.

A British inquest ruled the death sui­cide, but the case was reopened at the insis­tence of Mr Calvi’s fam­i­ly.

Mr Calvi died as his bank col­lapsed in one of Italy’s largest fraud scan­dals.

City of Lon­don Police, who ini­tial­ly inves­ti­gat­ed Mr Calvi’s death, said it was “dis­ap­point­ing for Rober­to Calvi’s fam­i­ly in par­tic­u­lar that those respon­si­ble for his mur­der have still not faced jus­tice”.

In a state­ment, the City of Lon­don Police said they had “worked close­ly with the Ital­ian author­i­ties since 2003 to bring this case to a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion.”

Cleared of mur­der charges are Giuseppe Calo, alleged to be a cashier for the Sicil­ian Mafia; Mr Calvi’s close asso­ciate, busi­ness­man Flavio Car­boni; busi­ness­man Ernesto Dio­tal­le­vi; Mr Calvi’s body­guard and dri­ver Sil­vano Vit­tor; and Mr Car­boni’s ex-girl­friend Manuela Klein­szig.

Calo has been in prison since the 1980s on Mafia charges unre­lat­ed to Mr Calvi’s death.

Pros­e­cu­tors had said Ms Klein­szig should be acquit­ted due lack of evi­dence but had asked for life sen­tences for the oth­er four.

The pros­e­cu­tion alleged that they lured Mr Calvi to Lon­don and into the hands of his mur­der­ers.

Unan­swered ques­tions

Mr Calvi was linked to the Vat­i­can bank, and pros­e­cu­tors also said he was laun­der­ing mon­ey for the Mafia.

Mob boss­es feared he knew where their mon­ey was going and where it was hid­den and was prepar­ing to tell all, pros­e­cu­tors said.

In June 1982, his pri­vate bank col­lapsed with debts of $1.5bn (£750m).

An inves­ti­ga­tion began in Italy but, a few days lat­er, Calvi’s body was hang­ing from Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don.

Cash and stones were stuffed into his pock­ets.

The first inquest ruled it was sui­cide but years lat­er his body was exhumed, reveal­ing clues sug­gest­ing he had been mur­dered.

Foren­sic tests con­duct­ed in 2003 con­clud­ed there was no evi­dence on Mr Calvi’s shoes and cloth­ing that he had climbed the scaf­fold­ing, indi­cat­ing he had been killed else­where.

The two-year tri­al leaves more ques­tions than answers, says the BBC’s Chris­t­ian Fras­er in Rome.

The defence sug­gest­ed more than once that there were plen­ty of oth­ers who had a motive for mur­der — some of them with­in the Vat­i­can — and they said any num­ber of these par­ties could have col­lab­o­rat­ed and silenced Rober­to Calvi.

1971 : Becomes chair­man of Ban­co Ambrosiano
1981 : Con­vict­ed of cor­rup­tion, but bailed pend­ing appeal
11 June 1982 : Leaves Italy with a suit­case of doc­u­ments
18 June 1982 : Body found
July 1982 : Sui­cide ver­dict
July 1983 : Open ver­dict at sec­ond inquest
1998 : Calvi’s body exhumed
Oct 2002 : Foren­sic report says Calvi mur­dered
July 2003 : Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tors name four sus­pects
Sept 2003 : City of Lon­don Police re-open inves­ti­ga­tion
Mar 2004 : Four appear at pre-tri­al hear­ing in Rome
April 2005 : Four peo­ple charged with mur­der in Italy
Octo­ber 2005 : Mur­der tri­al opens in Italy
June 2007 : Rome jury acquits five defen­dants


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