Italian bank sued over Parmalat collapse

The first damages claims against an Italian bank have been filed by Enrico
Bondi, the administrator of Parmalat.

Bondi is suing Italian bank UniCredito and JPMorgan for damages totalling
4.4bn euros, a move that follows his recent claims in the US against groups
including Citigroup and Bank of America.

Bondi says that UniCredito and JPMorgan underwrote half the 9.5bn euros of
bond issues that were made in the years before Parmalat’s collapse, ignoring
signs that all was not well at the company.

Analysts expect this could be the start of a new wave of legal actions
against banks that Bondi believes helped prolong the fraud at the dairy giant,
which collapsed in 2003.

No bank has admitted to wrongdoing in relation to Parmalat and UniCredito and
JP Morgan have refuted the charges. A spokesman for JPMorgan was quoted in the
Financial Times as saying: ‘To suggest we contributed to or were aware
of Parmalat’s deceptions is wrong and irresponsible’.

The paper says Bondi may pursue other banks for damages in Italy, since
Deutsche Bank and UBS participated in bond issues in the final months before
Parmalat’s collapse.

Parmalat is moving closer to a launch on the Milan stock exchange in October,
and creditors are currently voting on a proposed swap of debt for equity.

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