Risk Management

Auditors, Banks Avoid Parmalat Charges

A U.S. district judge tossed out lawsuits against two audit firms and three banks that were accused of having a hand in the dairy conglomerate's co...
Stephen TaubAugust 10, 2007

A federal judge threw out two separate cases against bankers and auditors of Parmalat Finanziara SpA, the Italian dairy company that collapsed in 2003 after it was rocked by accounting fraud, according to a report from the Associated Press. The lawsuits were brought by two former U.S. subsidiaries of Parmalat: the plan administrator for Parmalat USA Corp. and the litigation trustee for its Farmland Dairies unit.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said a majority of the alleged wrongdoing attributed to the two auditors and three banks took place outside of the United States, and therefore the defendants did not have to face charges, a BBC report noted. The affected defendants include Deloitte & Touche Tohmatsu International and its U.S. and Italian units, Grant Thornton International and its U.S. business, units of Bank of America Corp., Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA, and units of Credit Suisse Group, added the AP.

The lawsuits brought by the former U.S. units are among several complaints filed against Parmalat’s bankers and auditors in the United States. In fact, Enrico Bondi, chief executive of the restructured Parmalat, as well as shareholders, have filed separate additional lawsuits in Italy and the United States seeking to recover damages from Parmalat Finanziaria’s auditors and bankers, according to the AP. The plaintiffs claim the third-party advisers and financial institutions had a hand in the accounting fraud and eventual bankruptcy.

In January Deloitte & Touche SpA and Dianthus SpA agreed to pay $149 million in damages to Parmalat to settle U.S. claims stemming from the collapse of the dairy conglomerate. The parties also agreed to withdraw all pending actions and allegations between them. Dianthus operated in Italy under the Deloitte & Touche name until July 2003.

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