PIP breast implant boss Jean-Claude Mas set to appeal after court jails him
Court rules that the French businessman who sold tens of thousands of faulty silicone breast implants around the world is guilty of fraud
Tuesday 10 December 2013
The head of the French company which flooded the world with defective breast implants was given a four year jail sentence on Tuesday but escaped immediate imprisonment by lodging an appeal.
Jean-Claude Mas, 74, was found guilty of "serious fraud" by a court in Marseille in the south of France in a judgement delayed after a month-long trial in April and May. Three other company executives were given shorter jail terms and a fourth was given a suspended sentence.
Mr Mas, who had denied using substandard silicon at the trial, was also fined €75,000 and banned for life from any activity connected with heath.
The court also ruled that a giant German standards and product-testing company, TÜV Rheinland, was also a "victim" of fraud by PIP. This judgement could call into question a ruling by a French civil court last month that TÜV had failed to check the quality of PIP products and should therefore pay damages to victims - potentially up to €6bn worldwide.
This part of the ruling, and the fact that Mr Mas escaped jail for the time being, disappointed dozens of victims who travelled to Marseille for the judgement.
Jan Spivey, a British woman who received PIP implants after undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer in 2002, said "I thought (Mas) was going to be taken away in a vehicle today and we wouldn't see him again."
"Many, many women are still living with ruptured PIP in Britain, which I think is completely unacceptable," Ms Spivey told AP. "Women have got to be respected. They should have their dignity and they should have been treated accordingly from the beginning."
The PIP trial broke judicial records win France with 7,113 civil plaintiffs from 71 countries, including hundreds from Britain. Tuesday's written judgement, including the transcript of the trial, ran to 7,945 pages.
Mr Mas was accused of knowingly substituting an inferior, industrial grade of silicon in three quarters of his breast implants fitted to 400,000 women all over the world. Up to a quarter of the PIP implants burst or leaked, according to a French study. Allegations that the leaking silicon could cause cancer or other medical complications have not been substantiated but lawyers said that the full effects may not be known for many years. A UK report concluded that the implants were not carcinogenic or otherwise a long-term threat to health.
The vast majority of the implants were fitted for cosmetic reasons. Some were used for breast reconstruction after cancer surgery. The French government has offered to pay to replace all PIP implants. The British government has offered to pay only for those originally fitted for medical reasons.
The former financial director of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) in Toulon, Claude Couty, was jailed for three years and fined €30,000. Two other exceutives, Hannelore Font and Loïc Gossard, were given two year sentences.
Thierry Brinon, the only defendant to admit the charges, was given an 18-month suspended jail term. Mr Brinon told the trial that the use of a substandrad, industrial silicon - saving €10 on each implant - had become "an in-house lie, which became part of our company culture".
In his summing up in May, the state prosecutor, Jacques Dalles, said that the accused had "betrayed" their customers. "You must reflect in a prison cell on this sad commercial saga which has caused so many victims," he said.
Last month, in a landmark hearing in a completely separate civil case, a French commercial court opened the way to millions of euros in compensation for British and other women who were fitted with PIP implants.
The court in Toulon ruled that TÜV, which certified the sub-standard implants, shared responsibility with now-defunct PIP. Over 1,600 women, including about 100 from Britain, were awarded €3,000 in interim damages.
TÜV have appealed and will base their case on Tuesday's ruling that they also were "victims" of fraud by PIP and Mr Mas.
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Greece debt crisis explainer: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...