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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

4 Indicted in Italy for 'God's Banker' Death

ROME -- An Italian court ordered four people to stand trial for the murder of Roberto Calvi, more than two decades after the financier with close ties to the Vatican was found hanging from a London bridge, his suit pockets stuffed with rocks and bank notes.

The decision came after 23 years of intrigue, trials and charges following the death of Calvi, which triggered lengthy investigations in Britain and Italy.

Among the four people indicted Monday was Giuseppe "Pippo" Calo, a man convicted of Mafia links who prosecutors allege ordered Calvi's killing. Also ordered to stand trial in October were businessman Flavio Carboni and his Austrian ex-girlfriend, Manuela Kleinszig, who traveled to London with Calvi shortly before his death.

Prosecutors say Calvi, the president of the Banco Ambrosiano, was laundering money for the Mafia, and that Calo ordered his murder because Mafia bosses were afraid Calvi would talk, defense lawyers said.

Lawyers for Carboni and Calo denied the allegations Monday and said Calvi's death was a suicide. Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Corrado Oliviero, a lawyer for Calo, said the prosecution's sources were Mafia turncoats. "The indictment is aimed at clarifying these nebulous factors," in debate during the trial, he said.

The 73-year-old Calo, jailed since the 1980s on Mafia charges not linked to Calvi's murder, appeared at Monday's hearing by video link from a prison in central Italy, Oliviero said. Kleinszig and a fourth defendant, businessman Ernesto Diotallevi, were not present.

Calvi, who earned the nickname "God's banker" because of his ties to the Vatican's bank and its former top official, American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, was found dead in June 1982 under London's Blackfriars Bridge.

Calvi's death came as Banco Ambrosiano collapsed following the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans the bank had provided to several dummy companies in Latin America. It was Italy's biggest postwar banking scandal, and one that implicated the Vatican, which had provided letters of credit for the loans.

When Calvi was found, his suit pockets were stuffed with 5 kilograms of rocks and bricks, a falsified passport and $11,700 in various currencies, authorities said.

Carboni, a friend of Calvi's, was one of the last two men known to have seen the banker alive.

"They allege that Carboni went to London with Calvi to deliver him to the people who murdered him," said Renato Borzone, a lawyer representing Carboni.

Borzone said the defense lawyers' argument that his death was a suicide was backed up by medical examinations of Calvi's body.

However, in July 2003, Italian prosecutors concluded that Calvi was killed, as Calvi's family has long contended. British police announced in 2003 that they had begun a murder inquiry into Calvi's death.