Banco Ambrosiano

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Banco Ambrosiano was an Italian bank which collapsed in 1982. At the centre of the bank's failure was its chairman, Roberto Calvi and his membership in the illegal masonic lodge Propaganda Due (aka P2). Vatican Bank was Banco Ambrosiano's main shareholder, and the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978 is rumored to be linked to the Ambrosiano scandal, giving one of the subplots of The Godfather Part III. Vatican Bank was also accused of funneling covert United States funds to Solidarity and the Contras through Banco Ambrosiano.



  • Franco Ratti, chairman.
  • Carlo Canesi, senior manager then chairman of Banco Ambrosiano Holding starting from 1965.
  • Roberto Calvi, general manager of Banco Ambrosiano since 1971, appointed chairman from 1975 to his death in June 1982. He was often referred to as "God's Banker" because of his close financial ties with the Vatican.
  • Paul Marcinkus, president of Vatican Bank (aka "Istituto per le Opere di Religione"), had been a director of Ambrosiano Overseas, based in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • Carlo De Benedetti became deputy-chairman for less than two months, after Roberto Calvi's trial.
  • Nuovo Banco Ambrosiano is under Giovanni Bazoli.
  • Carlos Guido Natal Coda, head of the Argentine branch of Banco Ambrosiano (Coda was the predecessor of Emilio Massera as Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy) [1]

Before 1981

The Banco Ambrosiano was founded in Milan in 1896 by Giuseppe Tovini, a Catholic advocate in Valle Camonica, and was named after Saint Ambrose, the fourth century archbishop of the city. Tovini's purpose was to create a Catholic bank as a counter-balance to Italy's "lay" banks, and its goals were "serving moral organisations, pious works, and religious bodies set up for charitable aims." The bank came to be known as the "priests' bank"; one chairman was Franco Ratti, nephew to Pope Pius XI. In the 1960s, the bank began to expand its business, opening a holding company in Luxembourg in 1963 which came to be known as Banco Ambrosiano Holding. This was under the direction of Carlo Canesi, then a senior manager, and from 1965 chairman.

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