Italian police raid offices in Parmalat inquiry

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Italian police on Wednesday raided offices in Milan in an inquiry for insider trading linked to the purchase of shares in Italian dairy firm Parmalat by French rival Lactalis.

Prosecutors opened the investigation in March after Lactalis bought a 15.3-percent stake in Parmalat -- a move that raised its total stake to 29 percent and sparked nationalist opposition in some circles.

ANSA news agency said the Milan offices of French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole were raided, as well as those of Italy's Intesa SanPaolo and the US-French investment bank Lazard.

Four people are under investigation for insider trading, ANSA reported.

The French company has since made a takeover offer for Parmalat worth 3.4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) -- a sum that companies advising the Italian firm believe is too low according to a newspaper report on Wednesday.

Financial police and the prosecutors in charge of the inquiry could not be reached for comment.

© 2011 AFP

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