Four Malta Parmalat subsidiaries come through investigation clean

Four Parmalat-linked companies in Malta set up by Maltese government lawyers and a further three established by Parmalat’s own auditors have been given a clean bill of health by the island’s Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

Joe Bannister, the MFSA’s chairman, said investigators are looking into whether questionable off-balance sheet transactions took place through Parmalat-related accounts in 2001. The seven companies were established in 2002 and 2003, he pointed out.

Ganado & Associates, one of the island’s leading law firms, set up two companies owned by Fausto Tonna, Parmalat’s former finance director, and two owned by Calisto Tanzi, the jailed founder and former head of Parmalat. Bannister and the Maltese government have used Ganado & Associates as advisers on regulatory, insolvency and securitisation laws for Malta.

The four companies registered by Ganado & Associates are Satellite Services and Satellite Investment Malta, both owned by Tanzi, and Tonna’s RTM Malta, Malta Holding and Winery Holding.

Bannister said: “Dr Max Ganado [senior partner of Ganado & Associates] was essentially the one who registered the Parmalat companies in Malta. He has assisted me in the investigation.”

Parmalat’s three Maltese companies were registered by the dairy giant’s own auditor, Deloitte. Official papers seen by The Lawyer show Deloitte’s Malta address as the postal address for these Parmalat subsidiaries.

One of them, Parmalat Capital Finance (PCFL), is a branch of a Cayman Islands Parmalat entity with the same name. PCFL’s subsidiary is Bonlat, the Cayman company that triggered the Italian food group to file for bankruptcy protection when it was discovered that £2.7m, which was supposed to be held in a US account, did not actually exist.

A London spokesman for Deloitte said: “The Deloitte company which registered Parmalat has a separate legal entity to Deloitte’s accounting arm. It has a post box and administrative function mainly.”