Roberto Calvi, who earned his nick­name for his close ties to the Vat­i­can Bank, was found hanged beneath Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don amid strong sus­pi­cions that he was murdered.

Ayda Suarez Levy, the widow of a Boli­vian druglord, claims that Calvi was laun­der­ing drug car­tel money through an account in Nas­sau, in the Bahamas, on behalf of South Amer­i­can drug lords.

The Cocaine King sheds new light on Calvi’s death, which remains one of the Vatican’s dark­est chap­ters and most con­tested mys­ter­ies. Mrs Levy, the widow of Roberto Suarez Gomez, claimed in an inter­view on Ital­ian tele­vi­sion on Mon­day that Mr Calvi was her husband’s “Ital­ian con­tact”. “He said he could vouch for us,” she told Italy’s Chan­nel Seven television.

“He said by vouch­ing for us at such a high level, busi­ness would go well for us. I imag­ine he was talk­ing about cocaine. He was not explicit but I imag­ine that is what it was about.”

Levy recounted an encounter involv­ing her hus­band and Gunter Sachs, a multi-millionaire Ger­man play­boy who was the third hus­band of Brigitte Bar­dot. She said that six months before Calvi’s death, she and her hus­band met Mr Sachs on a trip to Switzer­land and they dis­cussed the Ital­ian banker.

Mr Sachs, who com­mit­ted sui­cide in his Swiss chalet last year at the age of 78, report­edly told the Boli­vian drug baron: “Calvi is very scared because Pablo Esco­bar wants his money back from the bank in Nassau.”

The Bahamas bank that he was refer­ring to was an affil­i­ate of Banco Ambrosiano, which was Italy’s biggest pri­vate bank when it col­lapsed in 1982. It was headed by Mr Calvi, who had close ties to the Vatican’s bank, for­mally known as the Isti­tuto per le Opere di Reli­gion – the Insti­tute for Reli­gious Works.

Calvi was a member of P2, an illegal Italian Masonic lodge.[citation needed] Calvi was found dead in London, after disappearing just before the corruption became public. His death was initially ruled suicide, and a second trial — ordered by his family — then returned an "open verdict".

The day before Calvi's corpse was discovered, his secretary also "committed suicide" by falling from a fourth floor office window at the bank's headquarters. A note was found which attacked Calvi for bringing the bank into disrepute.

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