US/ITALY – A US pension fund has filed suit against scandal hit Italian food group Parmalat Finanziaria SpA.

The Southern Alaska Carpenters Retirement Trust, and other US investors, have filed suit against Parmalat, which is caught in a multi-billion euro fraud scandal.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP.

It alleges that the group’s senior insiders, accounting and financial insiders breached the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by concocting “a massive scheme whereby they overstated Parmalat’s reported profits and assets for more than a decade”.

The law firm alleged that Parmalat created bogus bank accounts and forged financial records – which it says enabled the Italian food giant to “raise more than five billion dollars from unsuspecting investors from the sale of newly issued securities”.

Parmalat officials were not available for comment due to a public holiday in Italy.

The scandal has seen Parmalat managers jailed and its share trading halted, as well as the resignation of auditors.