The Collapse of Parmalat Essay

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Thursday, May 2, 2011, Calisto Tanzi was jailed on a conviction of market rigging related to the collapse of ‘the dairy giant empire’ Parmalat more than seven years ago. Italy’s highest court upheld Tanzi’s conviction. The Rome court reduced the sentence from ten years to eight years and one month in prison. Tanzi, along with former executives were ordered to pay the company $2.9 billion and compensate defrauded investors in an amount estimated at about $44 million. (“Ex-Parmalat Chief,” 2011). Parmalat’s bankruptcy was the largest bankruptcy in Europe and has been dubbed “Europe’s Enron”.
Calisto Tanzi started from scratch. After the passing of his father in 1961, Tanzi dropped out of college with a diploma in accountancy, to
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In the U.S. the Parmalat brand is known as Black Diamond cheese and Mother’s Cookies. (Russell).
Calisto Tanzi tried to stay close to his roots. Because of this, his fall from grace is hard for many to accept. Tanzi was affectionately called Il Cavaliere, the cavalier, for his rags to riches success. In Italy he was considered a symbol of unlimited success, a devout Catholic man who was often seen mingling with political and church people. His private helicopter was nicknamed “God’s Helicopter” because he often loaned it to high-level clergy. Many saw Tanzi as a kind, hardworking, generous man. He sponsored the restoration of Parma’s 11th century basilica, Duomo di Parma, and gave $300,000 to the restoration of the basilica’s organ. He also financed programs for AIDS patients, drug addicts and the poor. (Russell). Tanzi backed local cultural events and the Parmalat Company sponsored drivers such as Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda, and sponsored football clubs in South American and Russia. Between 2001-2004 Tanzi gave 1.5 million euros to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization’s campaign to end world hunger. (Arie, 2004). The Tanzi family kept a low profile and was considered by many to be the uncrowned royal family. The dairy emperor had a few toys- two antique yachts, one a 100-foot schooner worth $10 million, a $45 million corporate jet along with his personal helicopter. Tanzi

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