The December 20, 2019 decision also mandated the polyhydroxyalkanoate producer continue operating to avoid closure. Bio-On also noted in a statement that it has not been able to gain new financing and that it cannot pay its employees’ salaries.
In October, Reuters reported that Bio-On CEO and chairman Marco Astorri had been arrested as part of a probe into alleged false accounting and market manipulation. Dubbed the “Plastic Bubbles” probe, Astorri was placed under house arrest while cofounder Guido Cicognani and chief auditor Gianfranco Capodaglio are barred from practicing. The prosecutor has seized capital held by company founders and requested management be replaced.
The investigation, which began in July at the request of US-based fund Quintessential Capital Management, found “fictitious transactions” from licensing agreements and false revenues from 2015-2018. Since the accusations began, company worth has tumbled from €1 billion to under €200 million.