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Parmalat founder sentenced to jail for role in company’s collapse

Calisto Tanzi, the 70-year-old founder of Italian food and dairy company Parmalat, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for market manipulation.

Parmalat, formally owned by the Tanzi family, went bankrupt in 2003 after revealing that a $5.34 billion account at Bank of America didn't exist and stating that documents certifying the account were falsified.

At the trial in Milan, which began in 2005, all other defendants, including former officials of BoA, were acquitted. “We acknowledge the ruling that he is the only one responsible,” said Giampiero Biancolella, Tanzi’s lawyer.

Following the company’s collapse, it was revealed that Tanzi had left Parmalat with a debt of $20 billion.

However, the former CEO will escape actually serving his sentence in prison because of his age. It is understood he could remain under house arrest.

Along with other former executives and banks, Tanzi still faces another trial where he stands accused of fraudulent bankruptcy.

In October, Parmalat lost a fraud case against Citigroup after accusing the bank of being complicit in helping to bankrupt the company. It was ordered to pay $364.2 million in damages.

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