A Milan judge has today (Tuesday) sentenced ten former Parmalat executives and a lawyer in the first guilty ruling over the €14bn (US$17bn) collapse of Italy's biggest listed food group, according to the Reuters news agency.

Citing judicial sources, the agency said that Judge Cesare Tacconi sentenced the eleven men, including Fausto Tonna, one of Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi's closest associates, to up to two and a half years years in jail for crimes including market rigging and obstructing regulators.

The sentences stemmed from a plea bargain agreement that the convicted reached with authorities. Under Italian law, none of the convicted were expected to serve time in prison despite their role in Parmalat's collapse in 2003 in one of Europe's biggest financial scandals.