A four-billion euro (US$5 billion) accounting scandal at Italy's Parmalat snowballed on Monday as the food group's founder and two former finance directors became targets of a criminal probe. \nParmalat's new chairman and chief executive Enrico Bondi was considering bankruptcy protection options while politicians mulled bailing out Italy's eighth-largest industrial concern in a case that many are calling "Europe's Enron." \nFollowing Friday's shock revelation of a huge accounting hole at the company, which media reports said could widen to 10 billion euros, a judicial source said Parmalat's founder Calisto Tanzi had been put under investigation, a week after he stepped down as chairman and CEO. \nProsecutors also named two former finance directors, Alberto Ferraris and Luciano Del Soldato, in their probe into possible false accounting, fraud and market rigging at Italy's biggest food group, judicial sources said. \nParmalat, with 35,000 employees in 30 countries, stunned markets on Friday when it said a document showing 3.95 billion euros held by Cayman Islands unit Bonlat Financing Corp had been declared false by Bank of America. \nFerraris was Parmalat CFO from March until November, when he was replaced by Del Soldato -- who held the post for just over three weeks before he quit on Dec. 9. \nThe missing 4 billion euros dwarfs a 1 billion-euro accounting scandal at Dutch retailer Ahold and drew comparisons with the collapse of energy giant Enron. \nMedia reports said the hole could be as big as 10 billion euros, making it one of Europe's biggest accounting scandals. \nAs the investigation gathered steam, Bondi was due to meet Italy's industry minister in Rome, after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed his government would save operations and jobs at Parmalat. \nThe Industry Ministry might be required to name administrators for Parmalat, depending on what type of special administration status Italy's biggest food group seeks. \nItaly's Cabinet was expected to discuss the crisis yesterday, when Parmalat's board was also due to meet. \nOne of the prosecutors involved in the case, Angelo Curto, said: "The cases of false accounting are obvious ... Bonlat is just one of various balance sheet manipulations. [Its accounts] are generally not very reliable." \nParmalat officials were not available for comment. \nOn Saturday, police took documents from Bonlat auditor Grant Thornton and Parmalat's main auditor Deloitte & Touche. \nBondi's rescue team was locked in talks with bankers and legal advisers on Monday on how to keep the group afloat. \n"Bondi wants to have as much flexibility as possible for what needs to be done to the business," said a source close to the matter. "He and his team are likely to keep on working all through Monday." \nAgriculture Minister Gianni Alemanno said he would propose an inter-ministerial group to find ways of helping Parmalat.
Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier. As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries. The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
REASSURING NUMBERS: Taiwan’s test capacity ranks sixth or seventh among 91 nations, and is not low compared with other nations, Chen Shih-chung said The quarantine period for foreigners visiting Taiwan for business would vary based on the COVID-19 situation of the nation or territory that they are coming from, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported the 13th consecutive day of no new cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told reporters at the center’s daily briefing that modified rules covering foreign business visitors had been completed and were ready for him to sign. The complete details of the new rules would be released later this week, he said. Foreigners on long business trips would have
IN PROTEST: The US’ top diplomat said the WHA had been deprived of Taiwan’s scientific expertise, while Tsai said political factors should not be put above health US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday condemned Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Assembly (WHA), while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday lodged a strong protest against the WHO for not inviting Taiwan. Twenty-two nations voiced support for Taiwan’s bid for participation on the first day of the assembly’s two-day virtual meeting, but despite the global community’s unprecedentedly strong support for Taiwan, it remained blocked from the assembly, with WHO member states on Monday agreeing to delay discussion on Taiwan until later this year. Pompeo, who on May 6 urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the WHA,
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced no new cases of COVID-19, adding that a ban on mask exports would be lifted soon under three conditions. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 401 people from among the nation’s 440 confirmed cases have been removed from isolation. Yesterday was the 12th consecutive day that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan, and the 37th day of no new domestic cases. “As our local communities have gradually become safe, we should not become careless,” Chen said. “We should continue to take personal protective measures