First Parmalat Indictments Handed Up

Two auditors are accused of falsely certifying the company's balance sheets and of having proposed ''fictitious operations'' needed to carry out Pa...
Stephen TaubOctober 7, 2004

Two former auditors have become the first defendants indicted for their alleged roles in the accounting scandal that rocked Italian food giant Parmalat late last year.

Maurizio Bianchi and Lorenzo Penca — who worked at office of Grant Thornton’s former Italian unit, now named Italaudit — were charged with false accounting and market rigging, according to the Associated Press.

The auditors are accused of falsely certifying the company’s balance sheets and of having proposed “fictitious operations” needed to carry out Parmalat’s fraud, reported the AP. Their trial is scheduled for January.

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The wire service reported that prosecutors at the closed-door meeting were trying to convince a judge to order trials for a total of 29 people, including former Parmalat financial executives and accountants, as well as for the Italian branches of Bank of America and auditor Deloitte & Touche, and for Grant Thornton’s former Italian unit. (Grant Thornton severed its ties to the branch after the scandal broke.)

Salvatore Stivala, a lawyer for the pair, told the wire service that he had requested that his clients go to trial immediately — well, relatively immediately — rather than go through lengthy preliminary hearings. Stivala said by choosing to go to trial so fast, the individuals will have a chance to defend themselves sooner, according to the report.