The founder of Italian diary giant Parmalat, Calisto Tanzi, faces up to 10 years in jail after the convicted fraudster was sentenced by a court in Milan.

Tanzi had already been found guilty of misleading investors over the scale of Parmalat’s financial difficulties, which led to the company’s collapse in late 2003.

The 70-year-old Tanzi, who was on trial with a number of other Parmalat executives, had masked previously unreported debts at the dairy company totalling €14bn.

The company is currently suing a number of its former bankers for failing to flag up the fraud, having already extracted payments worth $500m from financial advisers including UBS and Credit Suisse.

Stefano Tanzi, the former chief’s son, faces fraud and money laundering charges in Switzerland also relating to Parmalat’s collapse.