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Italian court seeks 20-year terms in asbestos mega-trial

Author: Giuseppe Cacace, AFP, Published on: 4 July 2011

A court in Turin...requested jail terms of 20 years against a Swiss billionaire and a Belgian baron in the biggest ever trial over asbestos-related deaths, judicial officials said. Stephan Schmidheiny, the former Swiss owner of the Eternit construction firm, and Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier de Marchienne, a top shareholder from Belgium, are being tried in absentia. The trial is a mass civil action in which some 6,000 people are seeking damages over the deaths of around 3,000 people who worked at or lived near Eternit's plants in Italy. The prosecution requested the maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment and demanded eight more years be added on the grounds that asbestos can trigger ailments decades after exposure.

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Related companies: Eternit (Switzerland)