Monday, June 18, 2012

Roberto Calvi and the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano

We’ve talked about how the Vatican Bank has been recently accused of laundering money for la Cosa Nostra. We’ve expressed the concern that money laundering usually results in crashed banks due to investment fraud. We’ve also just talked about how Rakesh Saxena embezzled $80 million and crashed the Bangkok Bank of Commerce which resulted in the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Now let’s look at a cold case also in the news that talks about how the Vatican bank was accused of crashing another bank through embezzlement. It involved the murder of Roberto Calvi who was referred to as God’s banker because of his ties to the Vatican Bank. Roberto Calvi was the chairman of Italy's second largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano.

Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in June 1982 following the discovery of debts of between 700 million and 1.5 billion US dollars. Much of the money had been siphoned off via the Vatican Bank (strictly named the Istituto per le Opere Religiose or Institute for Works of Religion), which was Banco Ambrosiano's main shareholder. In 1984, the Vatican Bank agreed to pay US$224 million to the 120 creditors of the failed Banco Ambrosiano as a “recognition of moral involvement” in the bank's collapse.

Much of the 700 million to 1.5 billion US dollars had been siphoned off from Banco Ambrosiano via the Vatican Bank. Follow the money. The Vatican bank or Institute for Works of Religion, is the same bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was just fired from and has now been accused of laundering money for the mob.

Two concerns arise. First we have the accusation that the Vatican Bank is laundering money for the mob. The other concern is that Banco Ambrosiano collapsed because someone stole over $700 million by siphoning it off through the Vatican bank.

Banco Ambrosiano was owed huge sums of money by Panamanian shell companies involved with the Vatican Bank. Before his murder, Calvi was facing fraud charges related to stock in a company owned by Michele Sindona in prison in the US. Sinona was involved with the collapse of Franklin National Bank in the US in 1974. Carlo Calvi, the son of Roberto Calvi is also a banker in Montreal.


  1. And they couldn't even narrow it down any better than "between" $770M and $1.5B, huh? LOL.

    Well, let's go with the low estimate....$770M minus $224M of restitution equals a "profit" of $546M, in other words over a half billion dollars. That kind of money will buy off the families of a lot of altar boys/girls....

  2. Indeed. All the other sources said at least $1.2 billion. As you say, even if it was just $700 million the nominal payout showed a large profit. I think the creditors got a payout not the investors.

  3. I've read a book on this scandal, which was the basis for the movie Godfather 3. The Vatican Bank is not even run by a professional banker. It was then run by Cardinal Marcinkus from the USA. Seeing their monies, and lack of openness, or even basic banking knowledge, the Mafia moved in long ago, and the scandals have been plentiful ever since.

  4. I read that the movie Godfather 3 was about that. I haven’t seen it yet. Marcinkus? Now that’s an interesting name. I’ll have to check but I thought I just read something about John Paul I being upset with him for selling some bank off. Then all of a sudden that Pope was dead. I find the connection to the US mafia interesting. My gut feeling is that these paper shell companies in Panama were somehow related to the CIA. After all this rogue P2 Masonic lodge they’re all talking about had the leaders of the Italian secret service in it.

  5. Exactly, yes, you must see the movie.

    AK: "Then all of a sudden that Pope was dead."

    The Pope was likely poisoned; as in the film, as was the participation of the Prime Minister of Italy, even the name of Micheal Corleone's front business.

    Later Prime Minister Andreotti was convicted of Mafia association.

  6. Aparantly these money laundering allegations with the Vatican bank are nothing new. When they've happened before the CEO of the Vatican Bank just said although the allegations are serious I'm not prepared to breach confidentiality. Somewhat bizarre how a criminal organization can use a bank run by a religious organization and in so doing can claim criminal activity is confidential. Astounding.

  7. That's because the religious organization under discussion is also a criminal organization. And birds of a feather yadda yadda....

  8. Oh whatever. The same could be said for any other religious or secular organization. I know a lot of really good people who are Catholics. What I'm focussing on is the Vatican Bank and how the Mafia can infiltrate and take over the church which is a concern for everyone.

  9. No, it can't. But it can be here, we are talking 2000 years of history rife with corruption, theft, murder, etc..

    As for your focus, that was EXACTLY what I was referencing. Unless you are all of a sudden finding it to be unexpected that corrupt individuals would collude with one another, even when they would seem to be from disparate groups. And seemingly we could not get more disparate than priests and Mafiosi.....well, welcome to Italy. I guess now I am denigrating Italians rather than referencing fact/past history......past history being a valid indicator of future performance and all that.

    I know a lot of really good people who are Catholics as well, people who truly live the teachings of Jesus Christ. The one has nothing to do with the other, and quite frankly it surprises me that you can't seem to separate the two, and that you somehow think my characterization of the Catholic Church has anything to do with disparaging Catholics.

  10. I can distinguish between he two and just wanted to make sure we're all on the same page. I've been to Belfast. I've see the hate and propaganda. I'll expand upon it in another post because I want to follow up on the Vatican banks money laundering but I want readers to be clear that I'm not trashing Catholics or the Catholic church, only the criminal element that is using the church's bank for their own criminal enterprises.

  11. Oh, I'm trashing the Catholic church. Absolutely. Centuries of child rape and abuse covered with the cloth of God's will and under the threat of eternal damnation if not submissive and obedient to God's self appointed intermediaries with the human race, etc.. I'm still amazed that they got away with elevating a former member of the Hitler Youth to the papacy. That alone should have disqualified him. The fact that it didn't tells you who you're really dealing with, if all the sodomized altar boys and the protection their molesters received from the church does not.
    It's not a stretch to say that the Catholic CHURCH has committed more evil in God's name than any other distinctly identifiable organization has in all of recorded human history. And that's saying quite a bit.

    Good people who are Catholics? Sure. Of course. Even many of the clergy too. But the Catholic church itself is a cult which prey on the minds and the pocketbooks of it's members. That makes it evil in my book. And who sits on the throne of St. Peter now? Someone who was raised on the tenets of National Socialism from birth. Bold statement to be sure, but also true, and no less bold than some you yourself make here occasionally.

  12. Wow. Sodomizing young boys is an abomination. So is covering it up. I don't think anybody says either are good. When I think of the creation of the church of England I have to shake my head in disbelief. King Henry got tied of beheading his wives and wanted to create his own church that allowed divorce. Allowing divorce is one thing but creating your own church is another. Never in all of Israel's apostate history has any king of Israel ever started their own church when chastised by a prophet of God. England was first on that one. I see a lot of paid Protestants ministers on TV living it large driving expensive cars. I think when we demonize one group of people we tend to turn a blind eye to our own inconsistencies. For example, Ian Paisley using the child abuse argument to promote his own hateful agenda. Ian Paisley is not a man of God. He has his own agenda of hate which has absolutely nothing to do with living the christian life.

  13. I'm trying to focus on the corruption within the Vatican bank and how the mafia is using the church to hide criminal activity. The freedom of religion is a fundamental principle in a free republic. Anti Semitism, anti Catholic, anti Islam, all are self defeating and in opposition to a free and democratic society. As Martin Luther King taught, the old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

  14. Oh, I agree, Paisley is an douche bag.

    See, I have a problem with most organized religion period. I don't distinguish between them really, they all operate on basically the same principles and goals. And they are all subject to abuse in that the extremists who seek power and influence usually realize they have a powerful ally in God, if they can claim he favors them and that they alone have his holy word, which all people are commanded to follow, on pain of....well, usually pain. Of one variety or another, in this life or the next. How droll.

    As far as the mafia and the church, meh, nothing new. Corruption and Italy, nothing new. They are known for it. They just don't like anyone saying so. And both the mafia and the church practice a concept you may have heard about elsewhere. "Be silent or be silenced". Sound familiar?

    You are always trying to connect the dots, here you are, people doing wrong sharing common features, tenets, and methods. It's really a pretty small toolbox, but there's no need for it to be any larger when what's in it works so well in most all circumstances. The seeming differences of tool are really just variances in application, but if you look past that you can see the commonalities and realize that it's really all the same stuff.

    They have to have a good story. That's what disguises all this, making it less apparent, and con-vincing the dull-witted that it not what it is. "We represent God on earth and there is no way to him but through us". "We're just a bunch of guys who like to ride motorcycles". BOTH are a LIE.

    "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."


Comments are moderated so there will be a delay before they appear on the blog.