Scandal-ridden Italian food conglomerate Parmalat Finanzaria SpA is suing German banker Deutsche Bank AG for €17m (US$20.8m).

The suit is part of an attempt by Parmalat to recover part of a payment it made to Deutsche Bank in December 2003, the company said in a statement distributed by the Italian Exchange. That transaction would have been carried out days before Parmalat revealed that a €3.95bn bank account did not, in fact, exist, which in turned prompted Parmalat's bankruptcy.

The suit filed in Parma is the third legal action against former lenders initiated by Enrico Bondi, Parmalat chairman, since late July.