Swiss charge Italian man over Parmalat collapse

20th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland said Thursday that it is charging an Italian man for money laundering and forgery of documents in connection with the 2003 collapse of Italian food giant Parmalat.

The Swiss attorney-general's office said in a statement that the man domiciled in Italy had allegedly embezzled funds with his accomplices from Parmalat and the tourism group Tanzi.

He then transferred the funds into several accounts in the Swiss Italian canton of Ticino, which were opened under the names of third parties, including some offshore companies and a family foundation domiciled in Liechtenstein.

"The aim of the operation was to conceal the origins of these illegally obtained assets," said the attorney-general's office.

"The attorney-general came to the conclusion that these actions are relevant under criminal law, and deserves a court ruling," it added.

Switzerland has blocked about 10 million francs (8 million euros, $11 million) on bank accounts in relation to the Parmalat case.

The Parmalat collapse in 2003 ranks as one of Europe's biggest financial scandals: more than 14 billion euros went missing from the group's accounts, wiping out the savings of around 135,000 people in Italy.

The dairy group accused several international banks of contributing to its downfall. It had demanded 7.1 billion euros in damages and interest from Swiss bank Credit Suisse and two billion dollars from UBS.

In June 2008, the two Swiss banks said they would pay 357.5 million euros in settlements to Parmalat.

© 2011 AFP

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