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Auditor caught up in Parmalat black hole

Grant Thornton SpA, the Italian office of the international accountancy organisation, has found itself at the heart of the controversy surrounding the €3.95bn black hole in the accounts of Parmalat, one of Europe's biggest food producers.

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The hole emerged when GT wrote to Bank of America requesting verification for bank accounts apparently held by Parmalat subsidiary Bonlat Financing Corporation.

However, the bank wrote back to the auditors saying it had ‘no current account relationship’ with Bonlat.

The bank also told GT that a document dated 6 March 2003 which supposedly confirmed the liquidity and security positions of Bonlat was false. The document had been obtained by GT at the time of its audit of Bonlat.

GT said last week that on hearing from the Bank of America it immediately informed the Italian financial regulator CONSOB and the Italian prosecuting attorney.

The case does not involve Grant Thornton UK.

Controversy involving Parmalat began at the beginning of December when the company delayed reimbursement of a bond.

Reports in the press today suggest the current management of Parmalat, which took over just a week ago, may take the company into administration in the next few days.

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