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Italy adds Bank of America to market-rigging prosecution

Section: Daily Dispatches

From Reuters
Friday, July 6, 2007

MILAN, Italy -- A Milan judge has ordered Bank of America to stand trial for alleged market-rigging by some of its employees in connection with Italian dairy firm Parmalat's collapse.

Bank of America said in a statement on Friday the ruling was the same as that issued for four other banks.

"When the case comes to trial, we believe the evidence will show that the charges against Bank of America are completely unfounded," it said.

Judicial sources said the trial is to start on January 23 in Milan.

Judge Cesare Tacconi, who made the ruling, last month ordered Citigroup, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and 13 individuals to stand trial for market rigging. That trial is due to start on January 22, 2008. The banks have denied any wrongdoing.

"Bank of America had in place all appropriate governance policies and procedures," the bank said in its statement.

Parmalat, Italy's biggest listed food company, buckled under massive debts in 2003. It has since undergone restructuring and relisted on the Milan bourse in 2005.

A 2001 Italian law stipulates that companies are held responsible if they have not put in place specific checks and balances to prevent crimes by employees.

Nextra, the asset management arm of Banca Intesa -- now Intesa Sanpaolo -- negotiated an out-of-court settlement in the case.

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