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21 Nov 2011


Italy asbestos trial verdict expected in February

A massive class action lawsuit in Italy against a Swiss billionaire and a Belgian baron over 3,000 allegedly asbestos-related illnesses and deaths ended on Monday and a verdict is expected in February. Stephan Schmidheiny, the former Swiss owner of the Eternit construction firm, and Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier de Marchienne, a major Belgian shareholder, are being tried in absentia for contaminations from the 1970s. Prosecutors have requested that the two…should each be sentenced to 20 years in prison. Some 6,000 people are seeking damages from the pair…The trial revolved around asbestos produced at four Italian facilities and includes employees who worked there as well as people living nearby. The two defendants are accused of causing an environmental disaster and failing to comply with safety regulations, but their lawyers said they were optimistic.