Category Archives: Organized Crime

Popes and demons: Mysterious Vatican bank poses problem for new pontiff

The massive round tower, left, is the headquarters of the Institute for Works of Religion, the Vatican’s secretive bank.

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images FilesThe massive round tower, left, is the headquarters of the Institute for Works of Religion, the Vatican’s secretive bank.
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National Post | Mar 8, 2013by Adrian Humphreys
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As the world waits for the Vatican’s conclave to select a new pope to lead 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and the church’s sex abuse scandals dominate discourse on the incoming pontiff’s priorities, another decidedly worldly issue is also poised to take an immediate toll on the new Holy Father: money.

The public and private woes of the Vatican bank, long shrouded in secrets and whispers, might well prove to be just as challenging, if not as draining, as the lurid, faith-shaking damage of the clergy abuse scandal.

With a two-year probe by Italian authorities into money laundering, poor transparency, inadequate adherence to standards for guarding against criminal and terrorist financing, and questions over sudden changes in its leadership, the bank represents another crisis of morals, legalities and perception.

The importance of the Vatican bank in Pope Benedict XVI’s grand vision can be assumed from the urgency it held with the outgoing pontiff: among the last official acts before his shock retirement was overhauling financial leadership and church oversight.

On Feb. 15, Benedict XVI approved the appointment of Ernst von Freyberg as the new president of the supervisory board of the Institute for Works of Religion, the church agency widely known as the Vatican bank.

The appointment of the German lawyer and businessman came after assessing “a number of candidates of professional and moral excellence,” the Vatican said in a statement.

“The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection process … and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the Commission of Cardinals.”

While the appointment drew immediate criticism over the involvement of Mr. von Freyberg’s Blohm+Voss, an industrial group, in manufacturing German warships, including during the Nazi era, it also raised eyebrows for its timing. Putting money under the baton of a German is not out of step with European policy these days, but for an institution already rife with conspiracy theories the sudden shuffle could not go unnoticed.

“[Benedict’s] decision to retire was so unprecedented, you would think that he would have other things on his mind than replacing the head of the Vatican bank,” said Carlo Calvi, son of Roberto Calvi, who was known as “God’s Banker” because of his close ties to the Vatican before his outlandish death more than 30 years ago.

Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg Files

Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg FilesThe city of Rome, in Italy, is seen beyond St. Peter’s Square from the roof of the Basilica in Vatican City.
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Ernst von Freyberg. The Canadian Press Files.

Ernst von Freyberg. The Canadian Press Files.

“However, I am more surprised by the sackings — the people who were let go — rather than the appointments,” he said.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was chairman of the Vatican bank until he was pushed out in May with a withering assessment of not being up for the job. He had been trying to get the Vatican onto the international banking “white list” of virtuous countries.

Then, on Feb. 22, Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, a key church official pushing for better regulation and controls on the Vatican bank, was suddenly transferred from Rome to Colombia.

That transfer followed the moving of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was credited with turning a deficit for the Vatican into a large surplus through greater accountability and controls, from the Vatican to the United States.

One of the leaked documents in the “Vatileaks” scandal was a letter from Archbishop Vigano to Pope Benedict begging he remain in Rome to continue his financial crusade. The Pope was unmoved.

The transfers suggest change is not always welcome.

“Change under the new pope will be easier said than done because they make money on this, it is a source of income that has been used for a lot of purposes,” said Mr. Calvi. To address the problems, “They need, essentially, to do a very drastic reform that would almost certainly mean foregoing a considerable source of revenue.”

The Vatican bank has not always shown such virtuous strength, as Mr. Calvi knows better than most. Few outside the Vatican’s inner circle eye church finance as closely as Mr. Calvi, who now lives in Montreal.

Watching the Vatican bank has consumed Mr. Calvi’s adult life and the Calvi name almost consumed the Vatican bank.

His father was chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, an Italian Catholic bank closely linked to the Vatican.

Graham Hughes for National Post

Few outside the Vatican’s inner circle eye church finance as closely as Carlo Calvi, who now lives in Montreal. Graham Hughes for National Post
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The shadowy operations of Vatican finance forced its way into the public’s consciousness when Roberto Calvi was found dead, just as the scandalous operation of church finance was being revealed amid the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest private bank, with $1-billion missing.

Since then, his unsolved death, first declared a suicide, then reclassified as a murder, and the cast of powerful figures and secretive organizations linked to it — from the Mafia and the Masonic lodge P2 to the powerful conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei and the Vatican itself — make it one of modern history’s enduring mysteries, Europe’s equal to the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.

The case was also said to be linked to landmark Cold War politics, with claims Banco Ambrosiano was used by those close to John Paul II, the Polish pope, to fund the anti-Communist Solidarity movement in Poland and by those close to U.S. president Ronald Reagan to fund the Contra rebels of Central America.

The raw puzzle and quirks of Mr. Calvi’s death compel conspiracy theories and befuddlement, with small details that seem to mean much, but with no answer to exactly what.

The banker’s body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge, his feet dangling in the River Thames in the heart of London, on June 18, 1982; he wore two pairs of underwear, had five bricks in his pockets, about $14,00-worth of three different currencies and the business card of a Mafia figure.

It was a death shouting in the symbolic language of Italy’s underworld.

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Files

Blackfriars Bridge in London, U.K. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Files
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“I am more of the idea that there are theatrical elements and not necessarily symbolic aspects to it,” said his son. “Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars were involved — if that is not a motive for murder, I don’t know what is.”

After all, any Catholic cleric would know: Radix malorum est cupiditas, the Latin Biblical quotation meaning greed is the root of evil.

The very notion of a church bank speaks to the awkward interface between the spiritual and temporal, represented by the pope being both leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City state.

Unlike many Vatican institutions, the Vatican bank is not of antique origin, having been formed in 1942 by Pius XII, although it had older antecedents. Its purpose is to protect and administer the property and funds intended for the church’s works.

Unlike true national central banks, it does not set monetary policy or involve itself in currency maintenance, as the Vatican uses the euro. Also unlike most banks, its surplus or profit is supposed to go toward religion or charity.

As it is not a true central bank, and with the Vatican not a full member of the European Union, its relationship with strict regulation has been more nebulous and its ends of religion or charity have, likewise, not always been clear.

“One would be surprised at the acceptance of risky relationships and risky behaviour for an organization like the Vatican. But, objectively, I’ve seen it. It is hard to understand, but it is true,” said Mr. Calvi.

Courtesy Carlo Calvi

“God’s Banker” Roberto Calvi, whose body was found hanging from a London bridge in 1982, meets Paul VI in an undated photo. Courtesy Carlo Calvi
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“In many cases, they seem to have little judgment in terms of the arrangements they get themselves into.”

In the fallout of the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, though it claimed no wrongdoing, the Vatican bank paid $250-million to Ambrosiano’s creditors.

Since then, its regulatory framework has still not caught up to modern standards, especially in the post-9/11 world.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP/GettyImages Files

The former head of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was forced to resign from his post on May 24, 2012 “for failing to carry out duties of primary importance,” the Holy See said in a statement. Tiziana Fabi/AFP/GettyImages Files
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In 2010, Rome magistrates froze ¤23-million ($31-million) the Vatican bank held in an Italian bank. The Vatican said its bank was merely transferring its own funds between its own accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June 2011, but an investigation continues.

In July, a European anti-money laundering committee said the Vatican bank failed to meet all its standards on fighting money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes.

The report by Moneyval, a monitoring committee of the 47-nation Council of Europe, found the Vatican passed nine of 16 “key and core” aspects of its financial dealings. The head of the Vatican delegation to the Moneyval committee was Msgr. Balestrero.

Msgr. Balestrero said the report was a call for the Vatican to push forward with “efforts to marry moral commitments to technical excellence” to prove “the Holy See’s and Vatican City state’s desire to be a reliable partner in the international community.”

Seven months later, he was reassigned to South America.

“The Moneyval report was one of the rare bits of good news for the Vatican last year. Balestrero was the one who dealt with Moneyval and they send him to Colombia. That doesn’t sound like the way to reward someone,” said Mr. Calvi.

This week, the widely read Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana, which is distributed free in Italian parishes on Sundays, carried an article calling for the bank to be closed on the grounds the pontificate should not have direct links to the world of finance.

It argued there are plenty of ethically minded commercial banks in Italy and elsewhere that could be trusted to manage the Holy See’s assets.

In January, René Bruelhart, the new director of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, said the church was on the right track.

“Considering the particular nature of the Vatican City state, adequate measures have been adopted for vigilance, prevention, and fighting money laundering and financing terrorism,” he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

How much further the Vatican bank will go and how quickly it can get there, under both the new chairman and a new pope, is being anxiously watched by the world’s financial community. And by Mr. Calvi.

Pier Paolo Cito / The Associated Press Files

Then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, left, now former Pope Benedict XVI, looks on as late Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in 2002. Pier Paolo Cito / The Associated Press Files
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National Post, with files from news services

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Silvio Berlusconi says bribes are a ‘necessary part of business’ and tells critics to ‘stop moralising’

berlusconi
No crime: Silvio Berlusconi, pictured during a political rally in Rome last week, defended the use of bribes in international negotiations saying they are ‘necessary’ when dealing with third world countries and regimes

Berlusconi defending bribes saying they are not criminal but ‘necessary’

The 76-year-old politician called critics ‘absurd’ and ‘masochist’
    
He said without bribes ‘you cannot be an entrepreneur on a global scale’

dailymail.co.uk | Feb 15, 2013

By Sara Malm

Silvio Berlusconi has defended the use of bribes in business saying they are necessary when securing international deals for Italian companies.

The former Italian Prime minister said illegal payments are vital when negotiating with ‘third world countries and regimes’.

Mr Berlusconi made the comments as a response to recent corruption scandals within several state-controlled conglomerates in Italy.

Mr Berlusconi, spoke against the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica defence group, who was taken into custody yesterday accused of paying Indian government officials to secure a helicopter contract.

The 76-year-old politician, who is running for his fourth term as Prime Minister in the country’s elections this month, said bribes are essential in international business, the Financial Times report.

Silvio Berlusconi compares himself to Benito Mussolini

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‘Bribes are a phenomenon that exists and it is useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations when you are negotiating with third world countries and regimes,’ Mr Berlusconi said in an interview with Italian State broadcaster, RAI 3.

‘These are not crimes. We are talking about paying a commission to someone in that country. Why? Because those are the rules in that country.’

The centre-right leader also defended state-controlled energy group Eni, which is alleged to have used bribes to win contracts in Algeria.

Mr Berlusconi even went as far as to suggest that putting a stop to bribery has left Italian companies out of business.

‘No one will negotiate with Eni or Enel or Finmeccanica anymore,’ he said.

‘It’s pure masochism.’

Mr Berlusconi called those who condemn financial incentives in deals outside Western democracies ‘absurd’.

‘If you want to make moralisms like that, you can’t be an entrepreneur on a global scale.’

His comments comes one year after his own bribery case was thrown out of court.

Mr Berlusconi stood accused of handing British lawyer David Mills £380,000 to lie during two 1990s trials to shield Berlusconi and his Fininvest holding company from charges related to the billionaire media mogul’s business dealings.

The Italian general elections will take place 24-25th February where Mr Berlusconi is yet again heading the People of Liberty party and hoping for a centre-right coalition.

His comments were unsurprisingly slammed by opposition politicians, who pointed out that Mr Berlusconi himself is appealing against his October tax fraud conviction while running for Prime Minister.

Just last month an Italian court granted his defense team’s request to postpone a trial for alleged wire tapping until after the elections.

Prosecutors have asked for a one-year jail sentence for Mr Berlusconi for his alleged role in the publication of wiretap transcripts in a newspaper owned by his media empire and three years for his brother Paolo, the publisher of Milan newspaper Il Giornale.

Mr Berlusconi denies all charges.

See also: The Berlusconi Toxic Corruption Data Storage Dump

CIA able to keep its secrets on child porn, fraud, other misconduct

IG documents reveal porn, fraud, other misconduct

Washington Times | Nov 13, 2012

By Jim McElhatton

A former office of general counsel attorney was investigated for time and attendance fraud, as was a national clandestine-service officer. A senior manager came under scrutiny for false expense claims. Yet another investigation delved into “possible unauthorized intelligence collection by Directorate of Intelligence Officers,” according to records.

Both of the child pornography investigations were closed during the second half of 2010, one stemming from materials found on an agency laptop and other on an agency network.

The documents make no reference to the sex scandal involving David H. Petraeus, who resigned last week as CIA director, but reveal a watchdog agency somewhat hamstrung early this year by budgetary constraints.

“Over the past decade, the resources provided to the OIG have not kept pace with the dramatic growth in CIA operations and spending,” CIA Inspector General David B. Buckley wrote in a January report, which detailed his agency’s activities over the previous six months.

“In fact, unlike the [inspectors general at the Defense and State departments and USAID], the CIA OIG received no supplemental or operational funding during the contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the War on Terror, and did not forward deploy to the war zones,” Mr. Buckley wrote.

He also outlined his office’s work on 21 audit reports and six inspection reports covering “various covert action, proprietary, field station and other intelligence activities of the CIA.”

Given the agency’s penchant for secrecy, however, the documents weren’t released to the public even in redacted form as a matter of policy.

“The CIA inspector general’s reports are classified and therefore they are not publicly available,” Mr. Golson said Tuesday. He added, however, that the reports are sent to the CIA’s director, who forwards them to intelligence oversight committees in Congress.

Scott H. Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight Group, a nonpartisan watchdog, said there could be more transparency without compromising national intelligence.

“Unfortunately, the CIA IG prohibits public access to any specific plans or reports highlighting waste, fraud, abuse or ethics violations,” Mr. Amey said.

“It is really hard to imagine that every audit or investigation involves classified programs, methods or sources, and therefore a more balanced position regarding public access should be on the table.”

Former CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz, an adjunct law professor at the University of Virginia, said he understands the need to keep the work of the internal watchdog secret as well as arguments pushing for more transparency.

But he said the notion that the inspector general’s office doesn’t have the resources it needs does raise concerns.

“There are plenty of ways in which the CIA IG, if he or she feels strangled for dough, can make that known,” Mr. Hitz said.

Mr. Buckley raised concerns about funding in a Jan. 13 letter to Mr. Petraeus that was included in a report on the inspector general’s activities.

In the same message to Mr. Petraeus, Mr. Buckley also sought greater statutory authority for the watchdog office.

“As previously reported, I had determined that our ability to best conduct investigations of allegations of wrongdoing by CIA employees and contractors, pertaining to CIA activities, is hampered by the lack of statutory authority to support the conduct of such investigations, enjoyed by the other inspectors general,” he wrote.

When he appeared before the Senate in 2010 for a confirmation hearing, Mr. Buckley was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, whether the CIA inspector general’s office had all of the powers it needed to operate in a “vigorous and effective” way.

“Madam Chair, I, as I understand the authorities of the office today and the mission that lies ahead I believe so,” he responded at the time.

Mr. Golson said the inspector general’s office had, indeed, sought “statutory enhancements” and that the requests have since been sent to congressional oversight committees.

At least 400 TSA agents caught stealing passenger’s items


Hand over them bags and git yer hands up!

Travelers need to be more cautious when flying this holiday season

news4jax.com | Oct 25 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Federal Agency has recently come under fire after national news outlets caught agents stealing red-handed.   

This comes right around the same time the Transportation Security Administration is releasing the top 20 airports for employee theft.

For anyone wondering how safe their luggage is when they leave it at the gate, they have every right to be following the release of TSA’s theft statistics.

Jewellery stolen by TSA worker, surveillance footage deleted when traveler complained

The Federal Agency announced they’ve fired 400 of their employees for stealing. Some gave the items away as gifts, others tried to sell them online or kept them.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, TSA was also released the airports where theft is happening the most.

Number one is Miami International Airport followed by JFK in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Dallas.

Orlando International Airport came in at number 11 for TSA thefts.

A large part of the equation are international airports.

“When you have an airport, international, these things have a propensity to happen,” Channel 4’s Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said.

Jefferson said if someone has something of great value, ship it UPS or FEDEX and have it insured.

The other option if the items are small enough, is to check it as a carry on. But if it’s not small enough, it’s not worth the risk to check it.

“The people who we trust the most are the ones stealing from us,”Jefferson added.

“There’s always a few bad apples,” passenger Dave Andorsoezslo said. “Some are honest. I feel my bag is safe and you always wonder what’s going on in the back of your mind.”

Channel 4 didn’t find any passengers who have had items stolen themselves, only passengers who want to believe it won’t happen to them.

“You hate to think ill of the population, but I guess you run that risk right,” passenger Mike Durden said. “So I don’t know how you protect against everybody 100 percent.”

Son of ‘God’s banker’ Roberto Calvi: Mafiosi who hanged father from Blackfriars Bridge still at large in London


Family moment: Italian financier Roberto Calvi (right) and his son Carlo in a picture taken by Carlo’s sister Anna in 1982, the year Roberto was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London

Son of ‘God’s banker’ Roberto Calvi talks 30 years after father’s death

Carlo Calvi, 58, has spent £15million conducting his own investigation

Daily Mail | May 26, 2012

By Claudia Joseph

It was a very public death.

In the grey light of dawn, the body of a man was found hanging from scaffolding underneath Blackfriars Bridge in Central London, his feet dangling in the water.

Roberto Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding on Blackfriars Bridge, his pockets loaded with bricks. Both the Calvi and Sindona cases remain unsolved.

He was wearing an expensive Italian suit and his pockets  were weighted with bricks and stuffed with cash.

Initially police believed that Italian financier Roberto Calvi, known as ‘God’s banker’ because of his close financial ties with the Vatican, had committed suicide.

But the dead man’s son, Carlo Calvi, commissioned an independent forensic report, which concluded in October 2002 that he had been murdered.

In 2005, Italian prosecutors brought murder charges against five suspects but all were acquitted after the subsequent trial in Rome.

Now, 30 years after his father was found dead, Carlo remains convinced that he was murdered and wants police to reopen the case.

Carlo believes that up to a dozen men from the Italian underworld were involved in the murder – and claims many are still at large in London.

‘A long time has passed since my father’s murder on June 18, 1982,’ he said. ‘It is not unrealistic to believe that there are individuals involved in his death still alive. I want the City of London Police to pursue these individuals and put them where they belong. It is a matter of public interest. These people are still operating in London. We should all know who they are and what they are doing.’

Carlo, aged 58 and himself a former banker, has dedicated his life to seeking justice for his father, who was the chairman of Italy’s second-largest bank, Banco Ambrosiano. The bank subsequently collapsed with debts  of half a billion pounds amid dark rumours of laundered Mafia drug money, a link with the clandestine ‘P2’ Masonic lodge and secret political slush funds.

Now living in Montreal, Canada, Carlo spends his time travelling between his home and London, New York and Milan – sifting through  evidence, meeting secretive contacts willing to talk about Italian organised crime and poring over the transcripts of Mafia trials.

His obsession with finding the men involved in his father’s murder has come at a price – both financial and personal. He has spent £15 million on fees for lawyers, private detectives and other experts in an attempt to identify the guilty.

And his marriage to Marie Josee, mother of his two sons, Roberto, 18, and Nicola, 16, broke up in 2000. He has also not seen his sister Anna, 55, a lecturer at Warwick University, since their mother’s death from Parkinson’s disease in 2006.

‘There’s no doubt I have fixated on the case,’ he said. ‘I’m sure that played a part in my divorce and it has affected my relationship with my sister. She doesn’t necessarily agree with the things I have done.’

Carlo was a 28-year-old post-graduate student at Washington’s Georgetown University when he recieved the telephone call that would change his life. His mother Clara, then 60, and sister Anna, 25, were staying with him in Washington, having been warned by his father that their lives were in danger.

‘My mother had been living with me in America for about six weeks because my father feared for her safety,’ he recalled. ‘My sister arrived the day before he died. We were awoken by the telephone in the middle of the night when my uncle Luciano, my mother’s brother, called from Bologna to say that he had heard the news on the radio.

‘He spoke to my mother who had a complete breakdown. She was devastated. We had to call a doctor. I remember telling my uncle that he could have been more careful with his words. I think he was a little too direct.’

Within hours the family had been escorted by American police to a secret apartment in the Watergate complex, famous for the break-in that brought about the fall of President Richard Nixon. They spent the next few weeks under police guard before returning to Carlo’s home.

‘My mother never recovered from my father’s death,’ said Carlo. ‘She and my father had always dreamed  of living near Lake Como. They were very close and she remained very attached to her dreams.

‘The following year, she suffered  the first symptoms of Parkinson’s. I don’t think she got it as a direct result of my father’s murder – but surely it doesn’t help if you have lived through such a shock?’

Carlo’s quest for the truth began a month after his father’s death when  a London inquest recorded a verdict of suicide. It was hardly a likely explanation. Six days before his death, Calvi had shaved off his moustache and skipped bail in Italy pending an appeal against a four-year suspended prison sentence for illegally transferring £18 million out of the country.

Fearing for his life, the 62-year-old banker chartered a private plane and fled to Britain on a false passport with Sardinian business tycoon Silvano  Vittor, a long-term associate who assumed the role of bodyguard. He was taken to a safe house in Chelsea Cloisters, West London – believed to have been organised by another Sardinian businessman, Flavio Carboni.

Calvi had already written to Pope John Paul II  warning him of the imminent collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, saying that it would ‘provoke a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in which the Church will suffer the gravest damage’.

Calvi also had close links to the Mafia, the Neapolitan Camorra – a Mafia-like criminal organisation based in Naples – and the Masonic lodge P2. The latter was described by Calvi’s former Banco Ambrosiano mentor, Sicilian Michele  Sindona, as a ‘state within a state’ because of its powerful members, including former Italian Prime  Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Carlo refused to accept the 1982 inquest’s suicide verdict. He hired one of Britain’s best-known barristers, George Carman QC, to represent the family at a second hearing, which recorded an open verdict. Still not satisfied, he demanded that his father’s body was exhumed.

Carlo then commissioned the  independent forensic report, which concluded in October 2002 that his father had been murdered as the injuries to his neck were inconsistent with hanging, there was no trace of rust and paint on his shoes from the scaffolding and he had not touched the bricks in his pockets.

In 2005, Vittor and Carboni were accused of killing Calvi. But the duo and three others – Mafia financier Pippo Calò, businessman Ernesto Diotallevi and Carboni’s girlfriend Manuela  Kleinszig – were acquitted 20 months later.

Another name linked to Calvi’s murder was Mafia ‘supergrass’ Francesco Di Carlo, known as ‘Frankie the Strangler’.

According to Di Carlo, the killers were Vincenzo Casillo and Sergio Vaccari of the Naples Camorra.

‘Calvi was naming names,’ said Di Carlo. ‘No one had any trust in him any more. He owed a lot of money. His friends had all distanced themselves. Everyone wanted to get rid of him. I was in Rome and received a phone call from a friend in Sicily telling me that a certain high- ranking Mafia member had just been killed.

‘I will never forget the date because of this: it was June 16, 1982 – two days before Calvi was murdered. The friend told me that Pippo Calò was trying to get hold of me because he needed me to do something for him,’ Di Carlo claims.

‘When I finally spoke to Pippo, he told me not to worry, that the problem had been taken care of.

‘That’s a code we use in the Cosa Nostra. We never talk about killing someone. We say they have been taken care of.’


Determined: Carlo Calvi (pictured) has dedicated his life to seeking justice for his father

Carlo Calvi believes that the supergrass is telling the truth. He agrees with Di Carlo that his father’s killers were Casillo – the second-in-command of the Camorra, who was  murdered by a car bomb in Rome in 1983 – and his sidekick Vaccari, who was stabbed to death three months after Calvi’s murder.

Vaccari was also a former tenant of Calvi’s last known home, the rented flat at Chelsea Cloisters.

Carlo points out that both his father and Casillo had business cards belonging to Alvaro Giardili, a Camorra associate, in their possession when they died.

‘I’m not suggesting Alvaro Giardili was involved, but he definitely  connects to some of the individuals involved in the case,’ Carlo said. ‘When my father died, he had Giardili’s business card in his wallet.

‘One of the first people to ring us when we returned to the house after my father died was Giardili. In general, I consider Di Carlo a reliable witness. But I am more interested in what he has to say about the social network of the Italian underground in London during the Eighties.’

It is that underground movement that Carlo is now hoping will be exposed – even if his own safety  is jeopardised.

Calling for a third inquest, he said: ‘The police have already admitted it was murder but I would like to see the case reviewed in open court and the remaining defendants in their jurisdiction pursued.

‘When I lived in Italy I had bodyguards but now I have to rely on my own judgment and instinct.

‘There have been instances when I have been concerned for my safety but I try not to be confrontational and protect myself.

‘If the worst happens, I am not the only person who has this information. I will not rest until I find out the truth about my father’s death.’

Mafia boss breaks silence over Roberto Calvi killing


Financier Roberto Calvi was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Godfather turned supergrass accused of murder of ‘God’s banker’ claims case will never be solved

guardian.co.uk | May 12, 2012

by Tony Thompson

One month before the 30th anniversary of one of London’s most enduring murder mysteries, the mafia godfather at the heart of the case has spoken for the first time about why he believes the real killers of Italian financier Roberto Calvi will never be brought to justice.

Calvi, dubbed “God’s banker” because of his work with the Vatican, was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars bridge in London on 18 June 1982. Bricks had been stuffed in his pockets and he had more than £10,000 in cash on him. In the months before his death he had been accused of stealing millions being laundered on behalf of the mafia.

His death was originally ruled a suicide but later judged to be murder. In July 1991, Francesco “Frankie the Strangler” Di Carlo, a mafia godfather who had lived in England since the late 1970s, was named as Calvi’s killer by a supergrass. Di Carlo has since become a supergrass himself.

Speaking from the small town in central Italy where he now lives, Di Carlo related how he first came to hear that he had been accused of Calvi’s murder.

“I was in university – that’s what I called the prisons in England. We were all in the association room watching television when the news came on that the killer of Calvi was Francesco Di Carlo. All the prisoners and guards looked over and stared. I just shrugged my shoulders and said that they must be talking about someone else with the same name as me.”

Di Carlo seemed a likely suspect. He had arrived in the UK in the 1970s, relocating shortly after being linked to the murders of two Sicilian police officers.

He bought businesses and a palatial home but soon came under the watchful eye of British customs, who believed he had moved in order to oversee the Cosa Nostra’s operations in the UK. Between 1980 and 1985 customs officers allegedly linked him to at least a dozen multimillion pound drug hauls, only a handful of which were intercepted.

In 1985 Palermo’s flying squad attempted to extradite Di Carlo to Italy in connection with an earlier case. Within weeks of the request, the deputy head of the squad and a commissioner in charge of tracking down fugitives had both been shot dead.

Di Carlo was eventually linked to an attempt to smuggle £60m worth of heroin to Canada through London and was found guilty at a five-month trial at the Old Bailey, although he claims to have been the victim of a conspiracy.

The police officers escorting him to court each morning told how, as they were led from the cells, Di Carlo’s co-defendants would bow and kiss his hand as they passed him, standard protocol for greeting a senior godfather figure.

Although Di Carlo denies killing Calvi, he admits that he and his mafia colleagues wanted him dead and that his boss had attempted to contact him to carry out the hit.

“I was in Rome and received a phone call from a friend in Sicily telling me that a certain high-ranking mafia member had just been killed. I will never forget the date because of this: it was 16 June 1982 – two days before Calvi was murdered. The friend told me that Pippo Calò [known as the “mafia’s cashier”] was trying to get hold of me because he needed me to do something for him. In the hierarchy of Cosa Nostra, he was a general, I was a colonel, so he was a little higher up, my superior.

“While I finally spoke to Pippo, he told me not to worry, that the problem had been taken care of. That’s a code we use in the Cosa Nostra. We never talk about killing someone. We say they have been taken care of.

“Calvi was naming names. No one had any trust in him any more. He owed a lot of money. His friends had all distanced themselves. Everyone wanted to get rid of him. He had been arrested and he had started to talk. Then he had tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists. He was released, but knew he could be rearrested at any time. He was weak, he was a broken man.

“I was not the one who hanged Calvi. One day I may write the full story, but the real killers will never be brought to justice because they are being protected by the Italian state, by members of the P2 masonic lodge. They have massive power. They are made up of a mixture of politicians, bank presidents, the military, top security and so on. This is a case that they continue to open and close again and again but it will never be resolved. The higher you go, the less evidence you will find.”

Di Carlo became disillusioned with the direction the organisation was taking, deciding to become a supergrass.

“My grandfather was the first to be in the Cosa Nostra and the rest of my family followed. Back then the system was different. We were a guarantee for people who had no justice, we were there for the defence of the weak.

“We were not against the state, we were a state within the state. We had solicitors, doctors, ministers. We would get the politicians elected and we would command them. And we made a comfortable living. There were rules. You could not kill women or children or innocents. You could not kill journalists because they were just doing their job.

“If you wanted to kill someone, there had to be a reason. They had to be harming the organisation. You could kill a policeman because he was lying about you, but not for doing his job. You kill one, another comes along, so what have you achieved? Nothing.

“But then things started to change. Drug trafficking came in and made people very rich. People had too much money and power. The scruples were lost. Magistrates were being bombed along with women and children. It wasn’t Cosa Nostra any more, it was Cosa Monster. I didn’t want to be a part of that so I decided to turn. My life now is very different, very quiet, but I am happy.”

11 June 1982 Roberto Calvi goes missing from his apartment in Rome.

18 June 1982 Calvi is found hanging from scaffolding under London’s Blackfriars bridge, weighed down with bricks and £10,000 cash in currencies on him.

July 1982 An inquest finds that Calvi had killed himself.

July 1983 A second inquest returns an open verdict on his death.

December 1998 Calvi’s body is exhumed as his family press for answers, insisting he was murdered.

October 2002 An independent forensic report confirms Calvi was murdered.

5 October 2005 Five defendants are put on trial in Rome for the banker’s murder.

6 June 2007 All five defendants are acquitted of the charge.

18 November 2011 Italy’s court of last resort upholds the acquittals.

Prosecutors investigate Vatican Bank mafia link


Father Treppiedi, 36, was serving as a priest in Alcamo, near Trapani, said to be the richest parish on the Mafia’s island stronghold of Sicily

Anti Mafia prosecutors have asked the secretive Vatican Bank to disclose details of an account held by a priest in connection with a money laundering and fraud investigation, it emerged on Sunday.

Telegraph | Jun 10, 2012

By Nick Pisa in Rome

The official request was made more than a month ago but so far the Vatican Bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, has refused to disclose any records of the account held by father Ninni Treppiedi – who is currently suspended from serving as a priest.

Investigators want to know more about vast sums of money that are said to have passed through his account to establish if they were money laundering operations by on the run Mafia Godfather, Matteo Messina Denaro.

The reports emerged in the Italian media and came just two weeks after the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was sacked amid claims of power struggles and corruption within the Holy See which have been linked to the leaking of sensitive documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI.

More in line with a Dan Brown thriller, it is not the first time that the Vatican Bank has been embroiled in claims of Mafia money laundering. Thirty years ago this month financier Roberto Calvi was found hanging under London’s Blackfriars Bridge with cash and bricks stuffed into his pockets.

Initially City of London police recorded the death as suicide but Italian authorities believe it was murder after it emerged Calvi, known as God’s Banker because of his links to the Vatican Bank, had been trying to launder millions of pounds of mob money via its accounts and through his own Banco Ambrosiano which had collapsed spectacularly.

Father Treppiedi, 36, was serving as a priest in Alcamo, near Trapani, said to be the richest parish on the Mafia’s island stronghold of Sicily, and he was suspended after a series of questionable transactions of church funds and which has also led to his local bishop Francesco Micciche being sacked.

Trapani prosecutor Marcello Viola made the request six weeks ago for details of the account held by Father Treppiedi at the Institute of Religious Works to be disclosed but according to reports in Italian media, as yet the go ahead has still not been given by the Vatican.

In particular prosecutors are said to be looking at financial transactions made through Father Treppiedi’s account at the Vatican Bank between 2007 and 2009 and which came to almost one million euros but paperwork explaining the source of the money is said to be missing.

Attention is also focusing on several land and property deals made by the parish which is in Messina Denaro’s heartland in the area around Trapani and where he still commands fear and respect.

There is speculation that Gotti Tedeschi was aware of the possible Mafia link and was about to name names and police seized paperwork from his home which is said to detail his suspicions and which he had prepared for a handful of trusted sources as he feared his life was possible in danger.

In a statement prosecutor Viola said:”We have made a request for information to the Vatican City State in the spirit of collaboration with regard to an investigation into sums of money in financial transactions undertaken by the Diocese of Trapani.”

Transactions by the Vatican Bank are already under the spotlight with leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera saying Gotti Tedeschi was aware of accounts held by “politicians, shady intermediaries, contractors and senior (Italian) officials, as well as people believed to be fronts for Mafia bosses.”

Of particular interest are said to be property investments and property sales that could potentially have been used to disguise money transfers and launder money – all this in the light of report earlier this year that the Vatican Bank was not completely transparent in its dealings despite efforts to be so.

The latest development comes as prosecutors in the Vatican continue to question the Pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele, 46, in connection with the leaking of documents which then ended up in a whistle blowing book published by an Italian journalist called His Holiness.

No-one from the Vatican was immediately available to comment.