Trafigura fined over toxic waste

Oil trading company Trafigura was today fined a million euros (£840,000) for exporting hazardous waste to Ivory Coast and hiding the cargo's dangerous nature when it was unloaded from a ship in Amsterdam.

Prosecutors had asked for a fine of two million euros.



Amsterdam District Court judge Frans Bauduin also convicted a Trafigura employee for his role in the 2006 scandal and the Ukranian captain of the Probo Koala ship that carried the waste.



Toxic waste made thousands ill in the Ivory Coast capital, Abidjan, in August 2006, although Trafigura insists the waste from the Probo Koala could not have caused serious illness.











The verdict is the first time Trafigura has been convicted in the scandal.



The company, based in Lucerne, Switzerland, has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case. But it paid 157 million euros to Ivory Coast to help clean up the waste and another 40 million euros to victims in a British settlement this year.



Under the British settlement, lawyers agreed the waste could not have caused deaths but could have caused short-term, low-level illness.



At the criminal trial in Amsterdam last month, prosecutors accused Trafigura of putting profits ahead of safety by hiding hazardous waste in a ship that docked in Amsterdam in 2006 and then exporting it illegally. The waste was later dumped in Ivory Coast in what became a major environmental scandal.



Presiding Judge Frans Bauduin said Trafigura chose to dump the waste cheaply in Ivory Coast "for commercial reasons."



The company employed in Abidjan charged 35 dollars per ton of waste, while in Amsterdam it would have cost almost 1,000 dollars per ton, the court said.



"Under those circumstances, Trafigura - which by that time knew of the exact composition (of the waste) - should never have agreed to its processing at such a price," the judge said.



The company said it will study the verdicts "with a view to appeal."



"While Trafigura is pleased to have been acquitted of the charge of forgery it is disappointed by the judges' ruling on the other two, which it believes to be incorrect," it said in a statement.



Trafigura lawyer Michael Wladimiroff said that the conviction for exporting waste to Ivory Coast was based on the court's decision to apply an incorrect waste management treaty.



Trafigura argued that the Marine Pollution Treaty applied and that under that treaty it was legal to export the waste to Ivory Coast. The court decided a different treaty applied, under which sending the waste to Abidjan was illegal.



In Ivory Coast, where almost 30,000 victims and their families received 1,500 dollars compensation in March, the ruling was greeted as a moral victory because Trafigura has never admitted to any wrongdoing.



"Finally, Trafigura has been called out in a court of law," said Eliance Kouassi, president of the National Federation of Toxic Waste Victims in Ivory Coast. "It's a real victory for us," he said.



Amsterdam District Court also convicted Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed for leading the effort to dump the waste "while its dangerous nature was concealed."



He was fined 25,000 euros and given a six-month suspended sentence.



"Trafigura continues to maintain that Naeem did nothing wrong and will provide him and his legal team with whatever legal assistance they may require," the company said.



The Ukrainian captain of the Probo Koala ship that carried the waste, Sergiy Chertov, also was convicted and sentenced to a five-month suspended prison term for the same offence and forgery, for concealing the nature of the waste in a written declaration.



The ship had begun unloading waste "slops" from one of its tanks in Amsterdam, but then had them pumped back aboard after a dispute over processing costs.



An investigation into the composition of the slops was still under way when the ship was granted permission to leave, which prosecutors say violated Dutch law.



Amsterdam Port Services and its director Evert Uittenbosch were cleared of charges of "leaving dangerous waste in the hands of someone not qualified to process it."



Judges also dismissed charges against Amsterdam municipality, saying it was immune from prosecution as it was exercising its executive functions.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?