A former Bank of America employee has been cleared by a Swiss court of money laundering charges in connection with the collapsed Parmalat dairy scandal. The accused was set free after being found guilty of falsifying documents and being fined.
Italian dairy concern Parmalat - which was revived and now operates under different ownership – collapsed in 2003 with a €14 billion (CHF15 billion) hole in its accounts. The resulting investigation uncovered massive financial fraud and led to Parmalat being dubbed the “Enron of Europe”.
Thousands of small shareholders lost their stakes as a result of the scandal. Creditors sued Bank of America, but the case was thrown out in 2009.
On Monday, the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, southern Switzerland, delivered its verdict on a former Bank of America employee accused of laundering CHF52.5 million between 2000 and 2004.
The judge ruled that the banker could not necessarily have known that the funds were derived from a criminal source and so rejected prosecution demands for a four-year jail sentence.
However, the man was found guilty of incitement to forge documents and received a conditional fine of CHF90 francs for the period of 30 days. The fine was suspended for two years.
Having been cleared of the most serious offence, the man was awarded CHF21,400 in compensation and CHF336,000 to cover his legal expenses.