From: THE RITE OF SODOMY V by Randy Engels
Montini and the Mafia:
Archbishop Montini Meets “the Shark”
Michele Sindona, aka, “the Shark” was an underworld financial fixture in Milan long before Montini became Archbishop.
Born in Messina at the eastern end of Sicily in 1917, the Jesuit educated Sindona was studying law when the British and American troops invaded Italy during World War II. The enterprising Sindona decided to take advantage of the lucrative black market and went into the lemon and wheat business. Since the Sicilian Mafia controlled the produce trade, Sindona cut a deal with Mafioso head, Vito Genovese, whereby he would turn over a certain percentage of his earnings for protection from the mob for his business and his person.
In 1948, Sindona left the poorer war-ravaged southern boot of Italy and migrated north to the richer industrialized city of Milan where he became a “financial advisor” to a number of influential and wealthy Milanese. His Mafia credentials traveled north with him.
In 1954, when Sindona learned that Pius XII had appointed Msgr. Montini to the See of Milan, he secured a letter of introduction to the new Archbishop from the Archbishop of Messina, his home diocese. Sindona soon had a new client in Montini and the Milanese Church.
Archbishop Montini was so grateful to Sindona, that he took the Sicilian to Rome and introduced him to Pope Pius XII and Prince Massimo Spada, a senior official at the Istituto per le Opere de Religioni (the Institute for Religious Works). The IOR, which is popularly known as the Vatican Bank functions as a depository for the Church’s patrimony earmarked for charitable works. Sindona became “a man of confidence” and was given virtually full control over the IOR’s foreign investment program.
The gross assets of the IOR at the time were over $1 billion, but money was secondary to the IOR’s tax-free status and its potential as a laundry for washing dirty money, specifically, Mafiosi earnings from heroin trade, prostitution and illegal political contributions from underground sources including Freemasons.
In 1960, Sindona, operating under the old adage “the best way to steal from a bank is to own one,” purchased his own bank, the Banca Privata, and within a very short time was receiving deposits from the IOR. He used these funds to pyramid his own financial investments and started to launder illegal funds through the Vatican Bank.
After the election of Pope Paul VI, Sindona followed Montini to Rome and became a major player at the IOR. His operations and financial portfolio grew exponentially. In 1964, Sindona formed an international currency brokerage firm called Moneyrex with 850 client banks and annual financial dealings of $200 billion. Many members of the Palazzo, the rich and famous of Rome, used the firm to shield their fortunes from taxation through illegal offshore accounts. Sindona kept a secret ledger of his clients’ transactions with Moneyrex as insurance for a rainy day. The Vatican and Pope Paul VI, along with the name and numbers of the secret accounts of high ranking members of the Christian Democratic Party as well the Socialist and Social-Democratic Parties were all in Sindona’s little black book.
By the late 1960s, the “Gruppo Sindona” included six (later nine) banks in Italy and abroad and more than 500 giant corporations and conglomerates. One of the banks, the Franklin National Bank of New York, the 18th largest bank in the United States with assets of more than $5 billion, was purchased in part with money Sindona had skimmed off from his Italian banks. He also skimmed off funds from his secret masters, that is, the Sicilian Mafia and, after 1971, from the Propaganda Duo (P2), a Mafia-inspired Masonic Lodge catering to Italy’s elite headed by Grandmaster Licio Gelli. In addition, Sindona was handling financial transactions for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which during the post-war period was pouring large sums of money into Italy, some of which made its way to the Vatican Bank.
Meanwhile Sindona’s friend, Pope Paul VI was the recipient of bad tidings from the State. The Italian government was threatening to remove the fiscal tax exemption on the Church and Church properties and investments that the Holy See had enjoyed since the days of Mussolini’s Fascist regime. Under the revised tax-code, the Vatican State would be taxed like any other corporate entity. Sindona proposed a scheme to hide Vatican money in offshore investments and the pope agreed.
One of Sindona’s prominent protégés was a native Milanese by the name of Roberto Calvi.
Calvi was the central manager of the Banco Ambrosio, Italy’s most prominent Catholic bank as distinguished from the lay or secular banking institutions operated by the Jews and Freemasons. Calvi was a man after Sindona’s own heart, which spelled disaster ahead not only for the Banco Ambrosiano, but also for its major depositor, the Holy See. Calvi had his own connections to the IOR through Monsignor Macchi, Montini’s personal secretary. He was also on excellent terms with an American priest at the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Paul Marcinkus.
- This section on Vatican finance is based in information taken from a large number of publications and web sites including Conrad Goeringer, “History of the IOR – Murder, Bank, Strategy – the Vatican.” See also David A. Yallop “In God’s Name – An Investigation into The Murder of Pope Paul I.” (Free downloadable e-book available at this site.)
Other footnotes available on request.