BOLOGNA, Italy, April 23 (Reuters) - An Italian appeal court slightly trimmed to 17 years and 10 months a jail sentence for disgraced Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi for driving his dairy products empire to financial collapse in 2003, Europe’s biggest corporate bankruptcy at the time.
The prison sentence, which was 18 years in a previous verdict, is one of the harshest ever issued in Italy, where jail terms for white-collar crimes are rare.
Italy-based Parmalat, which was bought by France’s Lactalis last year, buckled under a 14-billion-euro ($18.5 billion)accounting hole that wiped out the savings of more than 100,000 small investors who had bet on its investment-grade bonds.
Tanzi, who was Parmalat’s chief executive at the time, was found guilty on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy and criminal conspiracy in the scandal dubbed “Europe’s Enron”.
Prosecutors had pressed for an additional three months in prison for the 73-year-old Tanzi, while his lawyer had asked for him to be acquitted. ($1 = 0.7571 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Writing by Lisa Jucca)