Two managers who were acquitted over the Parmalat fraud scandal were on Wednesday found guilty by a court of appeal in Milan.
Luciano Silingardi, adviser and board member, and Giovanni Bonici, former president of Parmalat in Venezuela, were given a three-year and a two-and-a-half-year sentence respectively. Further details were not released.
Meanwhile, the 10-year sentence given to Calisto Tanzi, founder and former chief executive of the Italian food company, was confirmed. Mr Tanzi was found guilty in December 2008 of falsifying accounts, market-rigging and misleading investors and regulators.
In a phone call to his lawyers, Mr Tanzi said he was bewildered as he expected his sentence to be decreased.
Parmalat collapsed in 2003 with debts of €14bn in Europe’s biggest corporate failure, known as “Europe’s Enron”. A court in 2004 established two parallel strands of the case, in Milan and in Parma.
The Milan trial, which began in May 2009, dealt with the operations and the activities of the company which defrauded both the market and the regulators. Several former executives of the company have been convicted for their roles in the fraud and were given short prison sentences.
Meanwhile, the trial dealing with the bankruptcy is being debated in a court in Parma.
“The splitting up of the trial into different strands has created great difficulties in the reconstruction of the events,” said Giampiero Biancolella, Mr Tanzi’s lawyer, who confirmed he would make a second and final appeal.
Unlike the first ruling, the court decided that Mr Tanzi and the Parmalat managers would have to pay interim compensation of more than €100m to a committee formed by more than 32,000 shareholders, who filed for civil damages.
“This is a sensational victory, although it will be hard to get the money … we are talking of individuals who do not have that sort of [financial] availability,” said Carlo Federico Grosso, lawyer for the committee.
Paolo Sciumé and Enrico Barachini, both external advisers, and three Bank of America managers were acquitted for the second time.
“The bank expresses its satisfaction of the court’s decision, which confirms the acquittal of its former employees. After over four years of trials in Italy and in the US it has been made clear that none of the bank’s employees knew about the Parmalat fraud,” said Bank of America in a statement.
Parmalat re-floated on the stock market in 2005 and is currently run by Enrico Bondi, initially court-appointed administrator and now chief executive.