29 SEPTEMBER 1984, Page 22

Rope Trick

The bank loan of the week involves Michele Sindona — 'God's banker' before Roberto Calvi took over the account. Sindona is being lent by the New York jail where he is serving 25 years for the Franklin National fraud, to face trial back home in Italy. He should read the small print. The prospect of giving evidence in an Italian court is not always healthy. Calvi got no further than Blackfriars Bridge, and an odder fate overtook a lieutenant of Sindona's, who, too; was to be extradited to Italy to give evidence. He tried to escape from his American prison by climbing down a rope. It broke, and his cell-mate, fat Colombian drug smuggler, landed on top of him and squashed him flat. Query: who supplied him with the rope?

Christopher Fildes