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Italian businessman on trial for fraud

The trial opened in Bellinzona on Tuesday of Stefano Tanzi, the son of disgraced founder of the Italian Parmalat dairy food empire.

Tanzi, along with an accomplice, faces charges at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court of fraud and money laundering worth millions of dollars.

Parmalat collapsed five years ago amidst revelations that company funds had been siphoned off and deposited in accounts benefitting the family. Tanzi is said to have deposited some of this money in a bank in Lugano.

The court had to request special permission from the Italian legal authorities to bring Tanzi to Switzerland, since he is under house arrest and performing community service for his part in the collapse of his father's company.

A verdict is expected on Thursday.

Investigations into the Parmalat affair are continuing in Switzerland, but so far more than SFr20 million ($17.7 million) has been seized as a result of the Swiss inquiries.

The trial of Tanzi is only a small part of the complex affair involving suspects including the Graubünden cantonal bank and a former Bank of America manager extradited to Switzerland from Slovenia.

Stefano Tanzi's father, Calisto, has already been sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a court in Milan.

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