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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
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
Latest stories from i100
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

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?