Police investigating murder of 'God's Banker'

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of "God’s Banker", Roberto Calvi, have discovered more than $70 million (£37 million) hidden in a Bahamian bank, it was revealed yesterday.

The financier was discovered dead under a London bridge in 1982. At first his death was recorded as a suicide but after more than 20 years of investigations the case has been reopened and is being treated as murder.

The discov ery of the 37 million was made by officers based in Rome and London, and Scotland Yard has been asked to contact authorities in the Bahamian capital of Nassau to provide full details.

The money is believed to be connected to the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano of which Calvi was president. It is thought to be the proceeds of Mafia drugs deals which Calvi was frantically attempting to launder but which went wrong, resulting in his killing.

Rome investigating magistrate Luca Tescaroli said: "We are convinced the money is connected to the fall of Banco Ambrosiano. The bulk of it arrived in Nassau from Florida and we are tracing its route.

"Other connected accounts elsewhere have also been frozen and we have asked colleagues in London to contact the authorities in Nassau to investigate further."

The latest development comes just ten days after a second British woman, London antiques dealer, Caroline Whitby-James, was questioned at her home in Florence by detectives in connection with Calvi’s death. Late last year Odette Morris, also from London, was also questioned by police investigating Calvi’s death.

Calvi was known as God's Banker because of his Vatican connections. He was 62 years old when he was found hanging from a length of orange rope from scaffolding under London’s Blackfriars Bridge, with bricks stuffed in his pockets and down the front of his trousers.

At first this was enough to convince police he had committed suicide but a later examination of his hands and shoes revealed no traces of zinc from the new scaffolding poles.

This crucial turning point meant that it would have been impossible for Calvi to climb up and hang himself and prompted the opening of a murder inquiry.

Investigators in Italy and Britain believe that another motive for his murder was his knowledge of widespread corruption both in Italian politics and the Vatican, and a briefcase of his said to contain "political dynamite" has never been found.

Calvi had been convicted of illegally taking foreign currency out of Italy and had been given a four-year prison sentence, which he was appealing against at the time of his death.

Detectives believe the Mafia panicked, thinking Calvi would turn police informer rather than go to jail.

The story will take a new twist next month when four people go on trial in Rome accused of his murder. They are three Italian men Flavio Carboni, Pippo Calo and Ernesto Diotallevi and an Austrian woman, Manuela Kleinzig.