Parmalat founder Tanzi gets 18-year jail term

Calisto TanCalisto Tanzi, the founder and former chief executive of Italian food conglomerate Parmalat SpA, has been sentenced to 18 years in jail yesterday for his role in a fraud at the firm.

The judge in the city of Parma also sentenced the company's former financial director Fausto Tonna to 14 years in prison, and Tanzi's brother Giovanni to 10 years, seven months.

The case thus reached its logical conclusion, said a lawyer who represented thousands of defrauded investors.

In 2003, Parmalat, then the world's largets producer of ultra-high treated (UHT) milk, collapsed in Europe's largest bankruptcy after faking documents of a 3.95 billion-euro ($5.34 billion) account at Bank of America Corporation.

The milk major later emerged from bankruptcy and returned to the stock market two years later, in 2005, under chief executive Enrico Bondi.

In May  2009, Parmalat signed a deal to buy the Clarence Gardens milk factory, other processing plants and associated depots from National Foods for an approximate A$70 million, increasing its presence in the Australian dairy industry (See: Italy's Parmalat to acquire National Foods' Australian dairy units).