Testimony implicates Roman gang in Orlandi kidnapping

Emanuela Orlandi's case had remained at a standstill, evidence brought to light implicates Magliana Band

VATICAN CITY – The 36-year-old case of the kidnapping of Emanuela Orlandi has resurfaced, as new evidence implicates the involvement of a Rome underworld gang, according to a report published by newspaper La Repubblica on Saturday. 

 On June 22, 1983, Emanuela Orlandi, who was 15 at the time, disappeared as she was walking home from a flute lesson. She was the daughter of a Vatican messenger and a citizen of the Vatican, and her kidnapping has become caught up in theories that suggested her disappearance was part of a plot to blackmail the Vatican to release Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who was jailed after attempting to assassinate Pope John Paul II. 

 Other investigations into the case brought to light allegations that suggested she had been taken by members of the Magliana Band in an attempt to recover money lost by crime groups when the Banco Ambrosiano, a Vatican bank, collapsed and its chairman, Roberto Calvi, was found in 1982 hanging underneath London Blackfriars Bridge.

 Evidence has now been brought to light surrounding Enrico De Pedis, a former boss inside the Magliana Band. 

 Salvatore Sarnataro’s testimony from 2008 has transpired 14 years later, published by La Repubblica, implicating Enrico De Pedis, a former boss inside the Magliana Band, in the cold case.  

 Sarnataro testified that his son, Marco was ordered to tail and kidnap Orlandi. He then took her to Rome’s EUR district where she was handed over to another crime boss in the gang who took her away. According to the transcript, Sarnataro’s son was rewarded with a Suzuki 1100 motorbike for the “courtesy.” 

 Sarnataro and Marco were serving time in prison on drugs charges together when his son confided in him about his role in the kidnapping. Marco had died the previous year. 

 “I really don’t know why Marco decided to tell me about his role in the Orlandi kidnapping. I understood immediately that he was living through a period of great fear,” Sarnataro told police. 

 The 2008 testimony that was published on Saturday on La Repubblica has emerged two days after two of Orlandi’s friends had identified Marco from a police photograph as the person who had followed them while they were walking together, days before Orlandi’s disappearance, reported by The Times

 Her friends claimed to have seen Marco twice, and on one instance, a man in the passenger seat of a car touched Orlandi’s arm, pronouncing a sombre “That’s her.” They saw him again the day before Orlandi’s kidnapping, as she was walking through the gates of the Vatican. 

 “After examining the photos carefully Angelo states with a high degree of certainty, that the subject [Marco Sarnataro] is present in photo number 8.”

 The report also details Maurizio Abbatino, another former boss of the Magliana Band, saying that the kidnapping was organised by De Pedis in a bid to recover lost money from the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion. Sources say that Orlandi’s father was allegedly a banker in the Vatican City.