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Trial set for Parmalat execs facing fraud charges

[JURIST] The trial of 16 former Parmalat [corporate website; Wikipedia backgrounder] directors and executives, including the company's founder and former chairman Calisto Tanzi [OpenFacts profile; JURIST report], is set to open in Milan Wednesday, nearly two years after massive accounting fraud was uncovered at the Italian dairy giant. The 16 are accused of artificially boosting Parmalat's stock prices, misleading regulators and falsifying accounting information. Tanzi faces a maximum five-year prison sentence if convicted. Parmalat filed for bankruptcy in 2003 after revealing that a $5 billion bank account it claimed it held did not exist and that its debt had reached $18 billion. Prosecutors charged 27 people in the accounting scandal, and 11 pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in June. Prosecutors have also pursued accounting firms Deloitte & Touche and Grant Thornton and several banks, including UBS AG, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley for their alleged roles in the fraud. Prosecutors in Parma may also seek to bring more serious charges against the 16 to stand trial. AP has more.

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