Jail time for company owners in Italy asbestos trial

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Jail time for company owners in Italy asbestos trial

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The families of more than 3,000 Italians who died from asbestos-related diseases have received some justice, after a court in Turin held a company responsible for their deaths.

The company’s former owner, Swiss billionaire Stephan Schimdheiny, has been sentenced to 16 years behind bars.

“I am deeply moved, because it’s been like living in a movie about what has happened, about what we have gone through, and about those who are no longer here to accompany us in this fight,” said one man outside the court.

The Italian judge presiding over what is the world’s biggest and longest-running asbestos-related trial also gave the company’s major shareholder, a Belgian aristocrat, the same 16 year sentence.

Neither man attended the trial.

International firm Eternit, which is now bankrupt, had four plants in Italy, where workers were exposed to asbestos without any safety equipment until the 1980s. Many employees and people who lived near the factories are seeking damages.