| Roberto Calvi |
17 June 1982 (Age 62)|
London, United Kingdom
|Victim of||premature death|
An Italian banker dubbed "God's Banker" (Italian: Banchiere di Dio) by the press because of his close association with the Holy See. Found death, hanging from a bridge in London.
Roberto Calvi was an Italian banker. His premature death was reportedly related to the Vatican Bank, Banco Ambrosiano's main shareholder; the Mafia, which may have used Banco Ambrosiano for money laundering; and the Propaganda Due clandestine Masonic Lodge.
On 10 June 1982, Calvi went missing from his Rome apartment, having fled the country on a false passport in the name of Gian Roberto Calvini. He shaved off his moustache and fled initially to Venice. From there, he apparently hired a private plane to London via Zurich. At 7:30 am on Friday, 18 June 1982, a postal clerk was crossing Blackfriars Bridge and noticed his body hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge on the edge of the financial district of London. Calvi's clothing was stuffed with bricks, and he was carrying around $15,000 worth of cash in three different currencies.
Calvi was a member of Licio Gelli's illegal masonic lodge, P2, and members of P2 referred to themselves as frati neri or "black friars". This led to a suggestion in some quarters that Calvi was murdered as a masonic warning because of the symbolism associated with the word "Blackfriars".
The day before his body was found, Calvi was stripped of his post at Banco Ambrosiano by the Bank of Italy, and his 55-year-old private secretary, Graziella Corrocher, jumped to her death from a fifth floor window at Banco Ambrosiano. Corrocher left behind an angry note condemning the damage that Calvi had done to the bank and its employees. Corrocher's death was ruled a suicide.
Calvi's death was the subject of two coroner's inquests in the United Kingdom. The first recorded a verdict of suicide in July 1982. The Calvi family then secured the services of George Carman QC. At the second inquest, in July 1983, the jury recorded an open verdict, indicating that the court had been unable to determine the exact cause of death. Calvi's family maintained that his death had been a murder.
In 1991 the Calvi family commissioned the New York-based investigation company Kroll Associates to investigate the circumstances of Calvi's death. The case was assigned to Jeff Katz, who was then a senior case manager for the company in London. As part of his two-year investigation, Katz instructed former Home Office forensic scientists, including Angela Gallop, to undertake forensic tests. As a result, it was found that Calvi could not have hanged himself from the scaffolding because the lack of paint and rust on his shoes proved that he had not walked on the scaffolding. In October 1992 the forensic report was submitted to the Home Secretary and the City of London Police, who dismissed it at the time.
Following the exhumation of Calvi's body in December 1998, an Italian court commissioned a German forensic scientist to repeat the work produced by Katz and his forensic team. That report was published in October 2002, ten years after the original, and confirmed the first report. In addition, it said that the injuries to Calvi's neck were inconsistent with hanging and he had not touched the bricks found in his pockets. When Calvi's body was found, the level of the Thames had receded with the tide, giving the scene the appearance of a suicide by hanging, but at the exact time of his death, the place on the scaffolding where the rope had been tied could have been reached by a person standing in a boat. That had also been the conclusion of a separate report by Katz to the Calvi family in 1992, which also detailed a reconstruction based on Calvi's last known movements in London and theorized that Calvi had been taken by boat from a point of access to the River Thames in West London.
- 'God's banker' found hanged, BBC, 19 June 1982
- Evidence on hanged Calvi ‘proves’ it was murder, The Observer, 18 October 1992.
- Calvi - The tests that may point to murder, The Observer, 31 January 1993.
- Dead Man Talking, by Jeffrey Katz, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, 26 October 2003
- Mafia, masons and murder, BBC News, 6 January 2005.