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One of the most high-profile and wealthy business figures in Italy in recent times, Cragnotti is best known for having been President of S.S. Lazio. However, his most influential position was as head of food conglomerate Cirio. This company included all Cirio food brands as well as those of the acquired Del Monte Foods International from the late 1990s. In 1992 Cragnotti bought football team S.S. Lazio from previous owner Calleri. In December 1993, the Ontario Securities Commission fined him for insider trading. The Cragnotti family owned 80% of the Cirio group which in turn owned a 51% stake in the Roman club. In 2002, the Cirio company declared default on its bonds. The default cost about 1.125 million euros to a plethora of small investors, most of them Italian.
Cragnotti presided over perhaps the most successful period in Lazio's recent history, plowing in record amounts of money which attracted such luminaries as Pavel Nedvěd, Christian Vieri and Marcelo Salas. His successes included winning both Serie A along with the final European Cup Winners' Cup, both under the guidance of close friend, Sven-Göran Eriksson.
In November 2006 he published his autobiography, titled Un calcio al cuore, co-written with Fabrizio Pennacchia. On March 2, 2011 the public prosecutor for the Cirio bankruptcy asks 15 years of prison for Sergio Cragnotti, 8 years for his sons Andrea Cragnotti e Elisabetta Cragnotti, 6 years for his wife Flora Pizzichemi Cragnotti and his son Massimo Cragnotti.
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- Bourne, Peter (2009-09-18). Passion in the Piazza. Lulu.com. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-4116-8181-1. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- Chorafas, Dimitris N. (2005-02-03). The management of equity investments: capital markets, equity research, investment decisions and risk management with case studies. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-7506-6456-1. Retrieved 9 April 2011.