A spokesperson for Parmalat said the raids had “nothing to do with the hearings in Parma”

A spokesperson for Parmalat said the raids had “nothing to do with the hearings in Parma”

Italian dairy Parmalat has had its offices raided today (10 December) by Italy's financial police over an investigation into tax.

In a statement, the Guardia di Finanza di Parma, in collaboration with the Tax Police of Bologna, said it was conducting searches against Parmalat, the Italian arm of parent Lactalis, accounts Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Italian bank Mediobanca and a law firm. The statement said the alleged offence was for the "embezzlement" of funds.

Parmalat is preparing to face a hearing over the acquisition of Lactalis's Americas operations from its parent earlier this year. The firm is being questioned over the use of a portion of the cash Parmalat used to finance the acquisition.

A spokesperson for Parmalat, however, told just-food the raids had "nothing to do with the hearings in Parma" and was regarding "tax crimes".

"The police department is carrying out an investigation ... so we can't say anything. We are waiting for the search to finish and we are giving them all the help we can. We can't comment on this further as we do not know what they are looking for," the spokesperson said.

Parmalat officials are due to attend two final hearings over the Americas acquisition on 17 and 21 December, after which, the jury will have 45 days to reach a conclusion.