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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Bank of America to sue Parmalat
Parmalat milk packaging
Parmalat has sued many banks over their alleged role in its problems
A US judge has given Bank of America the go-ahead to pursue a $1bn fraud claim against Italian firm Parmalat.

The bank has accused the firm's former management of fraud, conspiracy and lying about its finances.

The claim will not affect Paramalat's own $10bn suit against the bank for its alleged role in the firm's collapse.

The Italian firm filed for insolvency in late 2003 after a 14bn euro hole was found in its accounts. It has since emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Bank of America is one of almost 50 banks - including UBS and Citigroup - that Parmalat, under new head Enrico Bondi, is suing.

'Shifting the blame'

In its counterclaim launched in New York, Bank of America argued that the legal action was merely Parmalat's way of evading the blame for its problems.

In a statement, the North Carolina-based bank said the lawsuit was "nothing more than an effort to shift the blame for Parmalat's demise from the true culprit, Parmalat itself, to victims of the fraud".

"Parmalat and its management repeatedly lied to Bank of America, other banks, auditors, rating agencies, investors and the market in general about its financial condition," the bank added.

Parmalat's founder Calisto Tanzi is currently on trial, charged with fraud and false accounting.

Fifteen others - including former Parmalat employees and bankers - are also on trial, accused of helping him orchestrate the fraud.

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