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Parmalat files lawsuit against UBS

Collapsed Italian dairy giant Parmalat says it has filed a lawsuit seeking to recover €290 million (SFr446 million) from Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS.

Parmalat, which is reeling from a fraud scandal involving billions of euros of missing money, said it had filed the claim at a court in the Italian city of Parma.

It was the second action by the company against a bank, following a lawsuit against Citigroup filed in a United States court last month.

The company said then that the suit against Citigroup was part of a process aimed at seeking "recovery from third parties believed to have played a role in Parmalat's collapse".

Parmalat said the new claim was made in connection with a transaction carried out in July 2003.

Parmalat paid UBS €290 million in a complicated deal that allowed the food company to borrow money from the bank at low rates it could not find on the open market.

Parmalat, which is now being run by a government-appointed turnaround expert, said it was also seeking interest on the sum.

Financial scandal

The Parmalat scandal erupted in December when the conglomerate acknowledged it did not have billions of euros in funds it claimed was in a Bank of America account.

Parmalat then went into bankruptcy protection, and prosecutors have been investigating numerous former members of the company’s management.

UBS spokesman David Walker said the bank was reviewing the summons, but that its recent history with Parmalat included only “one financing transaction”.

“We believe that the transaction in question was entirely valid and therefore any effort to declare the transaction invalid will be met by a vigorous defence by UBS,” Walker said.

“We have absolutely no evidence that any UBS employees have done anything misleading, fraudulent or illegal in their dealings with Parmalat or were aware of the true state of Parmalat’s finances,” he added.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Parmalat says it has filed a lawsuit seeking to recover €290 million (SFr446 million) from UBS.

The failed Italian food giant is reeling from a massive fraud scandal involving billions of euros in missing money.

UBS said it would "vigorously" contest the lawsuit.

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