French implant boss jailed after missing bail payments

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The boss of the French company which made defective breast implants fitted in up to 500,000 women across 65 countries has been jailed after failing to pay his bail.

A French judge ordered the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas after he failed to hand over the €100,000 (£83,000) bail imposed when he was accused of "involuntary wounding" in January. Mr Mas, 72, founder of Poly Implant Protheses (PIP), is at the centre of one of the largest, fraud-related, health scandals of all time.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 women around the world, including 40,000 in Britain, are believed to have been given PIP breast implants made with a sub-standard and possibly dangerous silicon gel. In January, he was arrested and formally accused of voluntary wounding and warned of a possible future accusation of manslaughter.

The cancer deaths of two French women who received PIP implants are under criminal investigation. French authorities say that no firm link has yet been established between cancer and the industrial-grade silicon used by PIP but they recommended in December that all the implants should be removed, a call repeated in several other countries, including Germany and the Czech Republic.

Mr Mas has admitted that the silicone gel had not been medically approved but insisted the implants were not dangerous. He has alleged that the women suing him are motivated by money.

An investigating magistrate ordered his arrest after he failed to hand over the bail sum. He has been taken to Baumettes prison in Marseille.