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Milan prosecutors seek Parmalat indictments

Milan prosecutors on Wednesday requested the indictment of 32 people in the Parmalat fraud scandal, including Calisto Tanzi, the founder of the Italian dairy multinational, Italian media reported.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Milan prosecutors on Wednesday refiled requests to indict Parmalat’s founder, 28 other people and three institutions, Italian media reported, two months after a judge rejected fast-track trials for the suspects in a massive financial scandal at the dairy and juice conglomerate.

Prosecutor Francesco Greco’s office confirmed that a request for indictments had been lodged with judicial authorities but said it couldn’t immediately give the number or other details.

The news reports said Wednesday’s requests covered Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi, who is under house arrest, as well as auditors and banking officials.

The Italian judicial system is notoriously slow, and a judge in March rejected requests for fast-track trials for the same number in the complicated case which stretches back a decade.

Prosecutors reportedly were seeking trial on charges of market rigging, false communications by auditors and interference with the work of Italy’s stock market watchdog authority, Consob.

The scandal exploded in December when Parmalat acknowledged that it didn’t have nearly $5 billion it claimed was in a Bank of America account.

Soon after, Parmalat went into bankruptcy protection and top company figures, including Tanzi, were arrested. Tanzi was later released from jail and is under house arrest at his residence near the company headquarters near Parma.

An audit has since put the company’s debt at about $18 billion — eight times more than Parmalat had claimed in September.