Giorgio Ambrosoli

Giorgio Ambrosoli
Giorgio Ambrosoli (1933 – 1979).jpg
Born (1933-10-17)October 17, 1933
Died July 11, 1979(1979-07-11) (aged 45)
Nationality Italy Italian
Occupation Lawyer

Giorgio Ambrosoli (October 17, 1933 – July 11, 1979) was an Italian lawyer who was gunned down while investigating the malpractice of banker Michele Sindona.

Liquidating Sindona’s financial empire

Appointed by the court as liquidator of the Banca Privata Italiana, one of the Italian banks controlled by Sicilian banker Michele Sindona, which was forced into liquidation, he found evidences of criminal manipulations.[1] He provided the US Justice Department with evidence to convict Sindona for his role in the collapse of the Franklin National Bank.[2]

According to Ambrosoli, Sindona paid a US$5.6 million commission to "an American bishop and a Milanese banker." Official Italian sources confirmed that it concerned Paul Marcinkus, of the Vatican Bank, and Roberto Calvi, President of Banco Ambrosiano.[3]


On July 11, 1979, only hours after talking to US authorities, he was shot dead by three Mafia hitmen commissioned by Michele Sindona.[3][4]

Sindona feared that Ambrosoli would expose his manipulations in the Banca Privata Italiana case. Shortly before he was killed, the American Mafia hitman William Arico, a convicted bank robber, invoked the name of Giulio Andreotti – the influential Christian Democrat politician close to Sindona – in a threatening phone call taped by Ambrosoli .[5] Arico fell to his death while trying to escape from a federal prison in New York in 1984.[6]

In 1986 Sindona was sentenced to life imprisonment for having ordered the murder.[2][6][7]

Mafia involvement in murder

According to the Mafia turncoat (pentito) Francesco Marino Mannoia, Sindona laundered the proceeds of heroin trafficking for the Bontade-Spatola-Inzerillo-Gambino network. The mafiosi were determined to get their money back and would have played an important role in Sindona's attempt to save his banks.[8]

Ambrosoli was killed shortly after he had a talk with Palermo Police chief Boris Giuliano, who discovered cheques and other documents which indicated that Sindona had been recycling the proceeds from heroin sales by the Mafia through the Vatican Bank to his Amincor Bank in Switzerland. Ten days after the killing of Ambrosoli, Giuliano was shot and killed by the Mafia on July 21, 1979.[9]

Ambrosoli was posthumously awarded with a medal for civic heroism. In 1995 a film about him was made, entitled A Middle-Class Hero, directed by Michele Placido.[4][10]


  1. ^ Messina and Arico v. United States of America Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine, United States Court of Appeals, February 7, 1984
  2. ^ a b "Justifiable Homicide", by Luigi DiFonzo, New York Magazine, April 11, 1983
  3. ^ a b Scandal at the Pope's Bank, Time Magazine, July 26, 1982
  4. ^ a b "Andreotti says Ambrosoli 'was asking for it'". ANSA. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  5. ^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, pp. 39-42
  6. ^ a b 'God's Banker' Guilty in Milan Murder, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1986
  7. ^ (in Italian) Giorgio Bocca, Giorgio Ambrosoli, l'uomo che sfidò Sindona e la mafia, La Repubblica, August 26, 2005
  8. ^ (in Italian) Anche Antonino Giuffré nell'inchiesta Calvi, La Repubblica, October 13, 2002
  9. ^ Sterling, Octopus, p. 194
  10. ^ Un Eroe Borghese (1995), Online Video Guide URL visited 2010-10-23


  • (in Italian) Stajano, Corrado (1995). Un eroe borghese. Il caso dell'avvocato Ambrosoli assassinato dalla mafia politica, Turin: Einaudi, ISBN 978-88-06-17763-8.
  • Sterling, Claire (1990). Octopus. How the long reach of the Sicilian Mafia controls the global narcotics trade, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-671-73402-4
  • Stille, Alexander (1995). Excellent Cadavers. The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic, New York: Vintage ISBN 0-09-959491-9
  • (in Italian) Lucarelli, Carlo (2002). Misteri d'Italia. I casi di Blu notte. Turin: Einaudi, ISBN 978-88-06-15445-5.

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