Spain slaps multimillion-euro fine on food group for fraud

20th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain fined leading food group Ebro Puleva nearly 30 million euros (38 million dollars) for fraud in the sugar market, the company said Tuesday.

The Supreme Court's ruling from June 25 against the Spanish company that owns food brands including Lustucru and Panzani confirmed the fine of 27.6 million euros requested in 2008 for fraud committed between 1996-1998.

Prosecutors accused 12 managers from Azucarera Ebro, which was sold by Ebro Puleva in 2008 to Associated British Foods, of falsifying documents and concealing surplus sugar production for export to avoid paying taxes.

The managers were sentenced to between nine months and four years in prison.

The company said in a statement it was "fully prepared for the economic consequences" of the decision, including the interest it would have to pay on the fine.

The decision would have "no negative effect" on Ebro's results for 2010, it said.

Shares in Ebro Puleva at the Madrid Stock Exchange fell by 0.18 percent at 13.75 euros.

© 2010 AFP

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