ABC7 - Chicago
Four indicted over 1982 murder with links to Chicago archdiocese
April 18, 2005 — Authorities in Italy say they have cracked a 22-year-old murder mystery with links to the Vatican and to a former church official from Chicago's suburbs.
By Chuck Goudie
Four people have been charged in the 1982 death of Italian financier Roberto Calvi. Calvi had close ties to the Vatican Bank and to a now-retired archbishop from Cicero.
Roberto Calvi was found hanged under a bridge in London just days after the collapse of a bank he headed. The Vatican Bank had a large stake in Calvi's bank. Now, four people are charged with his murder.
The Chicago connection runs from the Chicago archdiocese, through suburban Cicero, to the Vatican and back to the US all in one man: Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who rose from priest to papal bodyguard to head of the Vatican Bank. Marcinkus left after a scandal that Monday resulted in the indictments of four people, including a man reportedly linked to the mafia.
Marcinkus is not among those charged, but questions about his connections to those involved in the case, remain. In 1982, Archbishop Marcinkus had aligned the Vatican Bank with Italy's largest private banking group, Banco Ambrosiano. The Roman Catholic bank, headed by Marcinkus, was a major shareholder in Ambrosiano. The Vatican Bank had guaranteed $1.4 billion worth of loans made by Italy's scandal-ridden Banco Ambrosiano, loans used to finance fake companies in Latin America that funneled weapons to the Catholic nation of Argentina for use in the Falklands War.
The president of baNco Ambrosiano, Roberto Calvi, was so tight with the Vatican, he was known as "God's banker."
During the middle of the scandal, Calvi hanged himself, found beneath the Blackfriars Bridge in London, England, two days after his secretary committed suicide. At first, Calvi's death was also thought to be suicide.
But Monday in Rome, four people have been charged with the God's banker murder. Italian indictments name businessman Flavio Carboni and his girlfriend Manuela Kleinszig with murder, along with alleged mafia associate Guiseppe Pippo Calo and businessman Ernesto Diotallevi.
Prosecutors now say Calvi was laundering mafia money and that Calo ordered his murder.
When the bank went belly-up in 1982, Italian magistrates wanted Archbishop Marcinkus arrested. When the case reached Italy's highest court, justices ruled that the Vatican was untouchable by Italian law, reinforcing its position as a nation-state operating within the borders of Rome.
Over the years, organized crime witnesses have told Italian authorities that the Vatican Bank under Archbishop Marcinkus laundered millions of dollars. But marcinkus has never been charged with anything and has always denied everything. He retired in 1989 and now lives in Sun City, Arizona.
When contacted by the ABC 7 I-Team last week, Marcinkus said that he hasn't spoken to the media in 25 years and doesn't intend to start now.