ROME (Reuters) – Businessman Callisto Tanzi, who remodeled a small household milk firm into the multi-national meals powerhouse Parmalat solely to see it collapse in considered one of Italy’s largest fraudulent bankruptcies, died on Saturday, aged 83.
Tanzi died of pneumonia in a hospital in Parma, town in central Italy the place he had made his fortune, his household stated.
Parmalat collapsed in 2003 when a 14 billion euro gap was uncovered in its steadiness sheet, wiping out the financial savings of hundreds of small buyers in a chapter that additionally reverberated throughout the worlds of banking, sport, tourism and leisure.
The firm was discovered to have overstated its earnings and gross sales for years and the collapse sparked litigation worldwide towards dozens of banks.
Tanzi underwent a sequence of trials together with different firm executives and distinguished Italian bankers. He was convicted of market-rigging, fraudulent chapter and different costs and sentenced to a number of jail phrases.
Born in 1938 within the small city of Collecchio, when he was 22 he took over his grandfather’s native milk firm. More than 4 a long time later the Parmalat group had about 130 factories all over the world making milk, yogurt, and different meals merchandise.
His enterprise galaxy additionally included a primary division soccer membership, a tourism firm and a tv community. It additionally sponsored ski and Formula One auto racing groups.
The Parmalat disaster erupted in 2003 when the corporate stated a 4 billion euro checking account held by a Cayman Islands unit didn’t exist, forcing administration to hunt chapter safety and triggering a legal fraud probe.
Despite the corporate’s investment-grade ranking at the time, considerations had beforehand swirled over its failure to elucidate why it didn’t use money proven on its steadiness sheet to chop debt.
Authorities later discovered that Tanzi had hidden artwork treasures by masters resembling Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh in buddies’ properties. The artwork was auctioned off in 2019.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Gareth Jones)