The legal battle for control of an Irish unit of troubled Italian dairy group Parmalat has been referred to the European Court of Justice.

In the row over the Irish unit, Eurofood, Parmalat’s administrator Enrico Bondi is trying to keep control of the unit ahead of a possible debt-for-equity swap, reported Reuters. Bank of America, to which Eurofood owes around €4m (US$4.9m), has said it believes the Irish courts should have jurisdiction over Eurofood’s liquidation. Eurofood also owes around €122m to bondholders.

An Italian court had ordered Italian jurisdiction over the Eurofood case, but an Irish court later ruled in favour of Irish jurisdiction. Bondi has appealed to the Supreme Court in Dublin against the appointment of a local liquidator for Eurofood. The case will now be referred to the European Court of Justice.

Meanwhile Italian prosecutors have requested a trial for Parmalat’s founder and 28 other individuals allegedly involved in market rigging related to the collapse of the Italian food giant. Prosecutors have also requested a trial for three financial institutions – the Italian affiliates of Bank of America and Deloitte & Touche, and Grant Thorton’s former Italian office.

Bank of America said it would defend itself “vigorously” against the charge, reported Reuters.