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24 Jul 2015

James Ball & Harry Davies, Guardian (UK)

UK authorities 'lack resources' to investigate Trafigura over toxic waste

UK authorities have admitted they lack both the expertise and resources to investigate the oil company Trafigura for prosecution over its role in a toxic waste dump in Ivory Coast which left up to 100,000 people with skin rashes, headaches and respiratory problems… Trafigura attempted to keep a report detailing its involvement secret using a super-injunction against the Guardian in 2009, which was challenged and ultimately defeated …[D]espite the involvement of UK-based executives in the planning of how to dispose of the waste, no UK prosecution has ever taken place…The Environment Agency’s report conceded that if the allegations against Trafigura were true, “a serious offence was committed with relevant aspect of the conduct taking place within the jurisdiction”…A spokesman for the Environment Agency said… “We decided not to pursue an investigation overseas because of the length of time since the alleged crime and the likelihood of securing a successful prosecution.”…Trafigura said it was “disappointed” Amnesty International was still pursuing it over its role in the toxic waste dump…"Trafigura maintains that given over the last decade the Probo Koala incident has already been exhaustively investigated by authorities in the Ivory Coast, the UK and the Netherlands and settlements have been reached in a number of jurisdictions, it is time to move on..."

Part of the following timelines

UK Govt. tells Amnesty Intl. it will not investigate Trafigura over dumping of toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire as it lacks capacity

Trafigura lawsuit (re hazardous waste disposal in Côte d’Ivoire, filed in UK)