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P2
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P2

P2 is the common name for the Italiann Freemasonicic lodge, Propaganda Due.

It became the target of considerable attention in the wake of the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano (one of Milan's principal banks), and the suspicious 1982 death of its president Roberto Calvi in London, initially ruled a suicide but classified a murder and prosecuted.

Calvi's connections with the Worshipful Master Licio Gelli became a particular focus of press and police attention, and caused the lodge (then secret) to be discovered. A list of adherents was found in Gelli's house in Arezzo, containing over 900 names among which were very important state officers, a few politicians and a number of military officers, many of them enrolled in the Italian secret services. Notably, the current Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on the list, although he had not yet entered elective politics at the time. Another famous member was Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples, current head of the House of Savoy.

Then-prime minister Arnaldo Forlani was forced to resign, and was eventually convicted of related corruption charges. His government was also brought down by the scandal, and at the subsequent election opposite parties of a left character won a mandate to replace it.

The lodge was then examined by a special commission of the Italian Parliament, directed by Tina Anselmi of the Democrazia Cristiana ("Christian Democrats") political party. The conclusion of the commission was that it was a secret criminal organization, even if no proof was found of specific crimes committed. Allegations of surreptitious international relationships, mainly with Argentina (Gelli repeatedly suggested he was a close friend of Juan Peron) and with some people suspected of belonging to the American Central Intelligence Agency were also partly confirmed; but soon a political debate overtook the legal level of the analysis.

Even if outlawed by Mussolini in 1925, Freemasonic institutions have always been tolerated in Italy, but a special law was issued that prohibited secret lodges; the Grande Oriente d'Italia ("Grand Orient of Italy"), after taking disciplinary action against members with P2 connections, distanced itself from Gelli's lodge and claimed to have only the obvious respect for honest Freemasons. Other laws introduced a prohibition on membership in such organizations for some categories of state officers (especially military officers). Such laws have been recently questioned by the European Court of Human Rights.

It has been repeatedly alleged that P2 was involved in the assassination of Aldo Moro, murdered by the Red Brigades, but no concrete proof was ever found.

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