Parmalat reaches settlement - supposedly

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Parmalat, Calisto tanzi

A US federal judge last week approved a $50m partial settlement in
a lawsuit over dairy firm Parmalat's bankruptcy, according to
Reuters.

However in the latest twist in the recovery in one of the world's largest dairy firms, Parmalat is apparently disputing that the payment will take place. Italy's Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA and units of Credit Suisse Group will each pay $25m in the case regarding the dairy firm's collapse over an accounting scandal, Reuters said. Parmalat, on the other hand, issued a press release Friday stating that, "news according to which the company has been paid $50 mn by CSFB and BNL is without foundation." ​ 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. 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.

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