Parmalat's founder went on trial Wednesday alongside other former company directors, lawyers and accountants, nearly two years after the massive fraud at the Italian dairy giant was discovered.
Parmalat Finanziaria SpA founder Calisto Tanzi, who is also the company's former chairman, and 15 others are accused of market rigging, providing false accounting information and misleading Italy's stock market regulator in the US$18 billion (14.99 billion) scandal that was dubbed "Europe's Enron."
Among the defendants are the Italian branch of Deloitte & Touche and the former Italian branch of Grant Thornton, both of which did auditing work for Parmalat.
Tanzi and most of the other defendants did not appear in court. In Italy, defendants are not required to attend hearings, reports the AP.