Until mid-2003 securities analysts consistently issued positive recommendation of Parmalat’s stock. Standard and Poor’s kept an investment grade rating until November 2003. Similarly, national and international banks recurrently processed bonds and private placements for national and foreign investors and at no time made references to concerns or doubts. Neither of Parmalat’s auditors - Grant Thornton and Deloitte’s - raised questions about the company’sfinancial accounts until November 2003, at which point Deloitte’s issued a ‘disclaimer’. .. despite dealing with the world’s largest banks, sophisticated investors, and two of the largest international audit firms, Parmalat was able to conceal its illegal corporate behaviour for over a decade
Parmalat pointed out to analysts and investors that its levels of debt were absolutely normal (after it had moved debts and inflated revenues) for a fast-growing company. That is, once again, it framed its explanation in the terms of the financial logic widely held at the level of the field
¿Por qué – se preguntan los autores – ni los analistas, ni los auditores ni los bancos de inversión ni los inversores se dieron cuenta de que la posición financiera de Parmalat se estaba deteriorando?
“If we know that those who have more information than we do have already expressed a positive opinion…we raise our hands’
In 2003 the Italian Professional Accounting Association - Associazione Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e dei Revisori Contabili - declared that auditors reviewing corporate group accounts would be held responsible for the separate accounts of companies in the group, even if these accounts were formally audited by other accounting firms. Only then, in November of the same year, did Deloitte and Touche probe beyond Grant Thornton’s signature and conduct its own analysis of Parmalat’s secondary accounts. Having done so, they immediately issued a ‘disclaimer’ on the company’s 2003 first-half financial accounts because the true value of the investment in Epicurum (whose value had previously been reviewed - and approved - by Grant Thornton) could not be determined.