BUSINESS
10/10/2011 09:32 EDT | Updated 12/10/2011 05:12 EST

Reports: Italian banker charged with extortion in case related to Parmalat failure

ROME - Italian news reports say a prominent Italian banker has been indicted in a case related to the monumental failure of the Parmalat dairy empire.

The LaPresse news agency says Cesare Geronzi will face trial Jan. 25 on a charge of extortion. Prosecutors allege that Geronzi forced Parmalat in 1999 to buy the smaller Eurolat at an inflated price, or risk being deprived of bank financing.

Geronzi at the time was head of the Banca di Roma, which has since merged with other banks.

Geronzi was ordered Monday to stand trial with two other defendants. The case is one of several resulting from Parmalat's stunning collapse under a €14 billion ($19 billion) debt in 2003.