Calisto Tanzi, founder and ex-boss of Italy's Parmalat, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a huge fraud scandal that bankrupted the food giant in 2003 and wiped out the savings of 135,000 Italians.
AFP - Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison over a 14-billion-euro fraud scandal that led to one of Europe's largest corporate bankruptcies, ANSA news agency reported.
Tanzi, also the former chief executive of the Italian food giant, stood accused of manipulating the company's share price, assisting in false accounting and hindering audits.
Prosecutors had been demanding a 13-year sentence for the 70-year-old who turned a modest pasteurised milk company into one of the world's leading food product manufacturers and symbol of Italy's post-World War II prosperity.
Dubbed "Europe's Enron," the Parmalat affair erupted in late 2003 when more than 14 billion euros (22 billion dollars at current exchange rates) went missing from the group's accounts.
The demise of the food conglomerate, which employed 36,000 in 30 countries, wiped out the savings of around 135,000 people in Italy.
Among 55 original defendants were Tanzi, his brother Giovanni Tanzi, chief financial officer Fausto Tonna and several bankers.
The massive Parmalat collapse led to several trials in which several defendants, including Tanzi's adult children Francesca and Stefano, have already negotiated lighter prison terms.
The court in Milan acquitted Thursday seven other suspects in the case, three of whom worked for Bank of America, and fixed prison terms of between two and five months for a further 10 accused.
Date created : 2008-12-18