Read The Last Supper Online

Authors: Philip Willan

The Last Supper


has worked as a freelance journalist in Rome for more than 20 years and has specialized in covering the murky side of Italian cold war politics. He contributed research to David Yallop’s best-selling book
In God’s Name
, on the alleged murder of Pope John Paul I and he later helped Charles Raw with his research for
The Money Changers
, an examination of the relationship between the Vatican and the Banco Ambrosiano, and the events leading up to Roberto Calvi’s death. His first book,
Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy
was published by Constable in 1991.


The Mafia, the Masons and the
Killing of Roberto Calvi







Constable & Robinson Ltd

55–56 Russell Square

London WC1B 4HP

First published in the UK by Robinson,

an imprint of Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2007

Copyright © Philip Willan 2007

The right of Philip Willan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in

Publication Data is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978-1-84529-296-6
eISBN 978-1-47211-223-1

Printed and bound in the EU

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Cover photographs: Roberto Calvi (centre) AFP/Getty Images.;
Roberto Calvi (bottom) TopFoto. Blackfrairs Bridge, Corbis.;
Cover design: Simon Levy





To my parents


List of Illustrations


Notes on Text

List of Abbreviations


The Cast


Prologue: Dinner at San Lorenzo’s

1   The Hanged Man

2   Source ‘Podgora’

3   God’s Banker

4   The Ministry of Fear

5   The Bologna Bombing

6   Don Michele

7   The Secret Network

8   Meeting Licio

9   Vatican Entanglements

10   The Gorilla

11   Enter Carboni, Armed with a Cheese

12   The British Connections

13   On the Road

14   London

15   Water Under the Bridge

16   Slow Progress

17   Trials and Tribulations

18   The Politics



List of Illustrations

The banker, Roberto Calvi

Courtesy of Carlo Calvi

Roberto Calvi in uniform as an officer of the Novara Lancers

Courtesy of Carlo Calvi

Roberto Calvi horse riding

Courtesy of Carlo Calvi

Roberto Calvi with his wife, Clara

Courtesy of Carlo Calvi

The Milan headquarters of the Banco Ambrosiano

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Roberto Calvi’s bedroom in flat 881 at Chelsea Cloisters

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

Roberto Calvi’s false passport in the name of Gian Roberto Calvini

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

The scaffolding under the north arch of Blackfriars Bridge from which Calvi was found hanging on the morning of 18 June 1982

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

Roberto Calvi’s body at Waterloo Pier

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

The rope used to hang Roberto Calvi

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

Roberto Calvi’s Patek Philippe watch found on his body

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

Documents found on Calvi’s body

Evidence photograph from the Rome murder trial

Flavio Carboni, the Sardinian businessman who organized Calvi’s journey and is accused of delivering him to his assassins

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Silvano Vittor, the Trieste smuggler who accompanied Calvi to London as a companion and bodyguard

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Giuseppe ‘Pippo’ Calò, the mafia boss accused of ordering Calvi’s murder to punish him for losing Cosa Nostra’s money

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Ernesto Diotallevi, a businessman from Rome who denies links to the Rome underworld and any involvement in the Calvi murder

Courtesy of ANSA

Giulio Andreotti, the former primer minister of Italy, at his trial in Palermo for collusion with the mafia

Courtesy of ANSA

Licio Gelli, the head of the P2 masonic lodge

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the head of the Vatican bank

Photograph taken by Chris Warde-Jones

Michele Sindona, the Sicilian banker who initiated Calvi into the mysteries of offshore banking

Courtesy of ANSA

Eligio Paoli, an informant of the finance police known as ‘Source Podgora’

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Carlo Calvi, Roberto Calvi’s son

Photograph taken by Philip Willan

Francesco Pazienza, consultant to Calvi and to the Italian secret services

Courtesy of ANSA


Many people helped me with the research for this book, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I would particularly like to thank the following: Giacomo Botta, Carlo Calvi, Jenny Chryss, Robert Clarke, John Cornwell, Andrea De Gasperis, Fiore De Rienzo, Piero Gamacchio, Frank Garbely, Aldo Giannuli, David Harness, Bill Hopkins, Gerald James, Jeff Katz, Lovat MacDonald, Andreas Mytze, Dario Piccioni, Charles Raw, Arcelia Rodriguez, Roberto Rosone, Bruno Rossini, Sidney Rotalinti, Sue Stuart, Luca Tescaroli, Felipe Turover and John White. A special thanks to my wife, Cristina, for her patience in the tenser times. This book is dedicated to my parents, who gave their support despite misgivings about its theme.

Notes on Text

Currency rates:

Between 1970 and 1982 the value of the pound moved between a low of around 1,400 lire and a peak of about 2,400 lire. An average conversion rate for the period of this story would be around L2,000 to £1. During the same period the dollar rose against the lira from a low of about 600 lire to a high of about 1,400 lire in 1982. Dividing lira figures by 1,000 gives a ballpark dollar conversion for the period.

P2 membership:

The Parliamentary P2 Commission concluded that the lodge membership lists found in the possession of Licio Gelli are an accurate guide to the lodge’s adherents. Some of those named in the lists disagree.

Notes on sources:

Much of the information in this book is drawn from the mass of documents presented by the prosecution to the trial in Rome of the five people accused of Roberto Calvi’s murder. Made available to the parties on DVD and CD-Rom, the documents have such an incomprehensible indexing system that I have not attempted to identify them in the endnotes. Where quotations were originally in Italian, the English translations are mine.

List of Abbreviations

Vatican financial institution, Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See).

Avanguardia Nazionale
(National Vanguard) Italian rightist organization founded by Stefano Delle Chiaie.

Umberto Ortolani’s Uruguayan bank, Banco Financiero Sudamericano.

Banco Ambrosiano Overseas Ltd (formerly Cisalpine Overseas Bank), key Ambrosiano offshore subsidiary in Nassau, Bahamas.

Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Socialist/P2-controlled Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

US Central Intelligence Agency.

Italian Christian Democrat party, Democrazia Cristiana.

US Drug Enforcement Agency.

US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Italian national oil company, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi.

US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (foreign ministry).

Grey Wolves
Right-wing nationalist movement in Turkey, implicated in plot to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981.

The Vatican bank,
Istituto per le Opere di Religione
(Institute for the Works of Religion).

Soviet intelligence service.

Mani Pulite
(Clean Hands) Massive corruption investigation in Italy in the 1990s, also known as

Britain’s domestic intelligence service.

Britain’s foreign intelligence service, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

US Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA.

Licio Gelli’s secret masonic lodge, Propaganda Due.

Italian Communist party, Partito Comunista Italiano.

Belgian arms company, Poudreries Réunies de Belgique.

Pro Fratribus
Catholic charitable organization assisting the persecuted church behind the Iron Curtain. Founded in 1970.

Italian Socialist party, Partito Socialista Italiano.

Italian state-controlled broadcaster, Radiotelevisione Italiana.

Red Brigades
Italian left-wing terrorist organization (Brigate Rosse – BR).

Armed forces intelligence service, Servizio Informazioni Forze Armate.

Shipping Industrial Holdings, British shipping company in which Banco Ambrosiano took a stake.

Italian domestic intelligence service, Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica.

Italian military intelligence service, Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare.

Special Operations Executive, Britain’s clandestine warfare organization during the Second World War.

Gerald Bull’s Space Research Corporation.

Union Bank of Switzerland.


1971: Roberto Calvi appointed director general of the Banco Ambrosiano. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus appointed president of the IOR.

23 Mar.
Cisalpine Overseas Bank founded in Nassau. Marcinkus takes a seat on the board.

1972: Calvi buys the Banca Cattolica del Veneto from the IOR for 27 billion lire.

8 Oct.
Michele Sindona’s Franklin National Bank is declared bankrupt.

11 Oct.
Calvi named
Cavaliere del Lavoro
(Knight of Labour).

23 Aug.
Calvi initiated as a freemason in Geneva.

19 Nov.
Calvi becomes chairman of the Banco Ambrosiano.

3 Nov.
Luigi Cavallo puts up posters in Milan attacking Calvi.

17 Apr.
Bank of Italy inspectors begin a seven-month examination of the Banco Ambrosiano’s books.

17 Nov.
Chief inspector Giulio Padalino produces a 500-page report. Verdict: ‘Not entirely favourable.’

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