No payouts for former Parmalat groups

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Parmalat Calisto tanzi

Two former subsidiaries of Italian dairy group Parmalat have failed
in their attempts to win compensation from financial institutions
alleged to have played a part in its one time parent company's
financial collapse.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, this week dismissed the claims made by the administrator of Parmalat Usa and the litigation trustee of Farmland Dairies, over the payments, according to the Reuters news agency. The decision could mean the end of any similar attempts by other groups to claim restitution over the collapse, which is one of Europe's biggest financial scandals to date. The group's had alleged that institutions including Credit Suisse and accounting firm Grant Thornton International, helped to conceal Parmalat's true financial condition. The scandal hit the headlines 19 December 2003, when a €3.95bn hole in the company accounts was revealed. A US bank allegedly discovered that a Parmalat bank account, supposedly in the Cayman Islands, was non-existent. At the end of December the company was declared insolvent and its founder and former chief Calisto Tanzi was arrested in a criminal probe into the billions of euros of missing money. The company consequently defaulted on more than €14 billion in debt. This eventually led to two group's filing for bankruptcy in the United States on February 24, 2004, leading to them being forcedforced out of the Parmalat Group, which has slowly rebuilt itself in the intervening years. Parmalat, under the leadership of administrator Enrico Bondi, has subsequently worked to stave off efforts by an Italian banking conglomerate to disintegrate the group, and has initiated various legal proceedings in Europe and the US against banks allegedly involved in the fraud. Bondi has argued that a number of financial institutions knew about the fraud and were partly responsible. However, the financial institutions involved in the 2003 affair have largely maintained that they were fooled by Parmalat's accounting chiefs. Last month the group revealed that it had settled disagreements though revocatory action with both Banca Monte Parma and ING Bank, having been rewarded €35m and €8m respectively by the courts. Other organisations which have paid up include Deloitte & Touche and Dianthus - the firm that operated in Italy under the Deloitte & Touche name until July 2003 - which in January this year committed to provide Parmalat with total consideration valued at $149 million. Bondi has also sold a number of assets in order to keep the company afloat. Earlier this month, Parmalat announced the group's Spanish operations to Lacteos Siglo, a subsidiary of Nueva for a total consideration of approximately €88m. Parmalat said that the two companies were entirely separate from its own operations, and that it continues to seek restitutions in the court over its financial collapse.

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