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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Deloitte considers Parmalat deals
Bill Parrett
Mr Parrett insists Deloitte did nothing wrong
The accounting firm Deloitte says it might be prepared to settle two billion-dollar claims out of court.

The firm, which faces claims for more than $10bn (5.8bn) over its role as auditor of bankrupt company Parmalat, said it would be an economic decision.

"If we could settle the suit to an amount equal to or less than the cost to defend it, [we would]," chief executive William Parrett told Reuters.

Parmalat collapsed in 2003 with debts of almost 14bn euro (10bn; $17bn).

The collapse came after it was discovered that a 4bn euro account Parmalat supposedly held with Bank of America was fake.

Not an admission

Soon afterwards, Parmalat investors brought legal action, claiming more than $10bn from Deloitte.

Parmalat milk packaging
Parmalat's downfall sparked a string of lawsuits

In addition, the accountants face a separate $10bn suit against Deloitte, joint auditor Grant Thornton, alongside Bank of America and Citigroup.

The second law suit was brought by Parmalat's administrator Enrico Bondi.

Mr Parrett insisted the fact that Deloitte was prepared to consider an out-of-court settlement did not mean it accepted any guilt.

"We think we'll be proven not to be responsible for the Parmalat matter," he said.

"We expect to defend ourselves to the fullest, and we expect to win.

"We didn't perpetrate the fraud: we were a victim of it, and we uncovered it."

Parmalat declined to comment.

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