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Italy court acquits four former JPMorgan execs in Parmalat case: source

A worker checks cartons of milk in a supermarket in Rome April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Max Rossi

PARMA, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian court acquitted four former JPMorgan (JPM.N) executives on Tuesday of accusations of fraudulent bankruptcy over the U.S. bank's role in the 2003 collapse of dairy company Parmalat (PLT.MI), a judicial source said.

A judge in the northern Italian town of Parma, where the Parmalat is headquartered, ruled in favor of a request from prosecutors to acquit JPMorgan's former Italy head Federico Imbert, his deputy Gabriele Schiavi as well as top executives Alessandro Mitrovich and Alessandro Rombelli.

"JPMorgan has supported its former employees throughout the process and is pleased that this matter is finally closed," the U.S. bank said in a statement.

Parmalat collapsed at the end of 2003 with a 14 billion euro ($14.5 billion) hole in its accounts. The crisis erupted after the company said a bank account of a Cayman Islands subsidiary did not hold 4 billion euros as previously believed.

The admission forced management to seek bankruptcy protection and triggered a fraud investigation.

The former JPMorgan executives had been accused of hastening the bankruptcy of Parmalat by helping the company issue bonds when it was already facing financial problems.

(Reporting by Valentina Accardo; writing by Valentina Za; editing by David Clarke)