An Italian newspaper reported that investigators suspected Franco Gorreri, who was arrested on Monday, embezzled up to $620 million to benefit the company’s jailed founder Calisto Tanzi.

Gorreri was placed under house arrest on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, fraudulent bankruptcy and falsification of documents.

The crisis at Parmalat was triggered last month by revelations that it had falsified bank documents worth $4.9 billion relating to its assets.

A Parmalat spokesman described Gorreri as the treasurer of the beleaguered Parmalat, the main subsidiary of the quoted company Parmalat Finanziaria.

The Parmalat empire has collapsed and is in the hands of a corporate rescue specialist.

Widening net

Meanwhile, investigators are pursuing a widening range of enquiries to understand why a large sum of money is missing from the group’s accounts.

Gorreri was also chairman of a local bank, Banca Monte Parma, based in Parma near where Parmalat is headquartered. The bank is controlled by the fifth-largest Italian bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Banca Monte Parma said the detention of Gorreri concerned his activities at Parmalat and had nothing to do with his banking responsibilities.