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Italian Judge Indicts Four International Banks in Parmalat Collapse

An Italian judge has ordered four international banks to stand trial in connection with the 2003 collapse of the Italian dairy giant, Parmalat.

The judge Cesare Tacconi in the northern city of Milan issued an indictment Wednesday against Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Deutsche Bank. He set a trial date for January 22.

Parmalat went bankrupt after auditors discovered it had falsely accounted for debts of more than $18 billion.

Last year, the company's founder and former chief executive Calisto Tanzi blamed the banks for the company's downfall. At his trial, he said the banks had continued selling bad bonds to thousands of individual investors, despite knowing the company's financial situation.

A lawsuit last year by Bank of America, one of Parmalat's creditors, said the company and its management repeatedly lied to creditors and investors about its financial condition.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.