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First Two Defendants in Parmalat Fraud Case Go On Trial


Two former auditors, implicated in the multi-billion dollar fraud scandal involving Italy's giant dairy firm Parmalat, have gone on trial in Milan.

Lorenzo Penca and Mauricio Bianchi are the first officials to face trial for their role in the collapse of the company that once sold its products in 30 countries and employed more than 36,000 people.

The pair, former auditors with the Chicago-based firm Grant Thornton, face charges of market rigging, conspiring to provide false information about Parmalat's financial condition and other offenses. Both have denied the charges.

Parmalat filed for bankruptcy in late 2003 after the insolvent food giant admitted it did not have nearly five billion dollars it had claimed it had in a Bank of America account.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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