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New Detentions Made in Parmalat Scandal

December 31, 2003

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Police carried out a new round of detentions Wednesday in the Parmalat scandal, acting on seven new arrest warrants accusing top former company officials and outside auditors with fraudulent bankruptcy, a financial police official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed all seven people were in custody. Another official with the financial police in Bologna, which was coordinating the detentions, confirmed that ``activity is under way,″ but declined to elaborate.

Among those named in the new arrest warrants is Parmalat’s former chief financial officer Fausto Tonna, as well as another top former financial official, Luciano Del Soldato, the Milan financial police official said.

In addition, two officials with Grant Thornton, Parmalat’s auditor from 1990 to 1990, were also named in the warrant, the official said. Grant Thornton has denied that its branch president, Lorenzo Penca, and partner Maurizio Bianchi had anything to do with any illegal behavior.

Grant Thornton said Wednesday it had no comment on the detentions.

The other people named in the warrants were Parmalat officials Gianfranco Zini, Gianfranco Bocchi and Claudio Pessina, the financial police official said.

The warrants were issued by Parma prosecutors who suspect them of criminal association leading to fraudulent bankruptcy and false accounting.

Those same charges have been leveled against Parmalat’s disgraced founder and former CEO Calisto Tanzi, who has been in Milan’s San Vittore prison since Saturday.

On Tuesday, a judge confirmed his arrest based on the Parma charges. He has also been accused by Milan prosecutors of market rigging and making false statements to auditors.