Italy opens trial into death of "God's banker"
06 Oct 2005
ROME, Oct 6 (Reuters) - More than two decades after Roberto Calvi was found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge, five people stood trial in Italy on Thursday accused of murdering the man known as "God's banker" for his close Vatican ties.
A Sicilian mobster, a Sardinian financier and three others are accused of murdering Calvi, whose death in June 1982 was initially ruled a suicide.
Rome prosecutors now say the Mafia killed him for stealing from them and from Italian financier Lucio Gelli, who was the head of the shadowy P2 masonic organisation.
The trial opened on Thursday and was quickly adjourned until November after brief initial proceedings held inside a maximum security prison in Italy's capital.
Convicted Cosa Nostra treasurer Pippo Calo listened via teleconference and was shown on a monitor in the courtroom, looking calm and wearing a dark sports coat with his hands folded in his lap.
The other defendants are Sardinian financier Flavio Carboni, his former girlfriend Manuela Kleinszig, Roman entrepreneur Ernesto Diotallevi and Calvi's former bodyguard, Silvano Vittor.
Shortly before Calvi was found hanging with bricks in his pockets, the bank he headed at the time, Banco Ambrosiano, had gone bankrupt. It was then Italy's largest private banking group and worked with the Vatican.
The prosecutors' inquiry has focused on millions of dollars that flowed through the bank's offshore accounts in the weeks before Calvi's death.