Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
TURIN

Billionaire's jail term for asbestos deaths upped to 18 yrs

English
© ANSA

Turin, June 3 - A Swiss billionaire's conviction
for asbestos-linked tumours among the Italian workforce of
cement company Eternit was upheld by a Turin appeals court on
Monday and extended from 16 to 18 years.
Stephan Schmidheiny was found guilty of failing to ensure
adequate safety measures at two asbestos-cement plants the
now-defunct Eternit ran in Italy up to the 1980s in the first
trial in February 2012, one of the world's largest ever
into asbestos-related deaths and illnesses.
At the original trial Schmidheiny was convicted along with
former Eternit managing director and Belgian executive Baron
Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, who has since died.
Prosecutors said that around 2,100 people have died from
asbestos-linked tumours among Eternit staff, their families
and people living near the factories affected by asbestos
dust in the air, while hundreds more are ill.
Schmidheiny was found guilty for the conditions at the
plants Eternit ran in Casale Monferrato and at Cavagnolo near
Turin.
He can now take an appeal to Italy's supreme Court of
Cassation.
Jail sentences in Italy are not usually served until the
appeals process has been exhausted.
Employees and their families have long claimed that
Eternit did little or nothing to protect its workers and
residents living around its factories from the dangers of
asbestos.
According to Turin Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello, who
has been probing the deaths since 2002, Eternit's products were
also used to pave streets and courtyards or as roof insulation
in the towns around the factories without warnings about the
dangers of asbestos, resulting in decades-long exposure for the
local population.
In 1993, four of Eternit's former Casale Monferrato
managers were convicted of wilfully neglecting safety
regulations and given sentences of up to three and a half
years on suits filed by 137 workers.
In 2006, Eternit set up a fund of 1.25 million Swiss
francs to help former employees in Switzerland who are
suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.
In October 2011 the multinational agreed to pay out almost
nine million euros in compensation to workers at another
asbestos-cement plant in the Sicilian town of Siracusa.
According to the Institute for Workplace Protection and
Security (ISPESL), Italy used more than 20 million tonnes of
asbestos before it was banned in 1992 and until the late
1980s was one of the largest producers and importers of
asbestos.
ISPESL says Italy is one of the western countries worst
hit by asbestos-related illnesses, with around 1,350 cases of
mesothelioma reported each year.

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