Grant Thornton Proclaims Its Innocence in Parmalat Scandal

Grant Thornton’s Italian unit contends it is the victim of fraud in the multi-billion-euro scandal surrounding Parmalat, Italy’s biggest food maker.

Parmalat, a household name in Europe and the No. 3 cookie maker in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection last week as a fraud investigation widened and the hole in Parmalat’s accounts is reported to be more than 10 billion euros, according to Reuters.

One key figure is founder Calisto Tanzi, who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of market rigging and false auditing. The order by investigators that led to his arrest stated that Tanzi had “diverted in his favor and to companies which are not part of the (Parmalat) group the sum of about 800 million,” Reuters reported.

The scandal blew apart two weeks ago. That’s when Parmalat revealed that a document supposedly certifying that Bank of America held 3.95 billion euros for Parmalat’s offshore unit Bonlat was declared false by the bank.

Italian prosecutors said that a scanning machine had been used to forge the bank documents, on Bank of America letterhead, which Grant Thornton used to certify Bonlat’s 2002 accounts.

“While we are not in a position to confirm the accuracy of those comments, it does appear that Grant Thornton SpA and others may have been the victim of a fraud committed by others,” the firm said in a Dec. 23 statement. Grant Thornton member firms operate as separate legal entities worldwide.

“Grant Thornton SpA vigorously reconfirms that it acted correctly and that its audit of Bonlat Financing Corporation, a subsidiary of Parmalat, was conducted in full compliance with appropriate, current auditing standards.”

Bank of America has already filed a criminal complaint in Italy in connection with the Parmalat case. About 20 current and former Parmalat executives and outside auditors are under investigation for fraud, false accounting and market rigging, Reuters reported.

“The Grant Thornton international organisation and Grant Thornton's member firm in Italy (Grant Thornton SpA) take any matters of this nature very seriously indeed, and will continue to help the Italian authorities in any investigations they may pursue,” the statement said. The full statement can be found at http://www.gti.org/

You may like these other stories...

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) on Monday reminded auditors that they should continue adhering to the board’s existing standards when considering an organization’s ability to operate as a...
Exclusive: Lois Lerner breaks silenceIn her first press interview since the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal broke 16 months ago, ex-agency official Lois Lerner told Politico that employers won’t hire her, she’s...
Cybersecurity is no longer the domain of an organization's IT staff. It's moved to the boardroom, and in a big way. Accountants and financial managers may have been thinking it's just the province of the tech...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.