Swiss businessman sentenced to prison over asbestos-related death

Swiss businessman sentenced to prison over asbestos-related death

An Italian court has sentenced a Swiss businessman to 42 months in prison following the death of a worker at an asbestos company.

The jury trial found Stephan Schmidheiny guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Mr Schmidheiny is the former majority shareholder in the company.

The worker was found to have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, according to the jury.

Mr Schmidheiny was acquitted in seven other recent cases involving a company. The 74-year-old has denied any responsibility and has, to date, been cleared by higher courts. His legal team have confirmed they will appeal the jury verdict, saying it goes against Italian law and fundamental legal principles.

In a previous case, he was acquitted of any responsibility for the deaths of almost 3,000 people, and his acquittal was due to the statute of limitations passing in 1998.

Trade unions, relatives of victims and environmental organisations have been critical of Schmidheiny’s legal outcomes, but he has emphasised that his involvement with the company was long before asbestos-related health risks were understood.

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