The Turin Appeals Court in Italy has increased the sentence for a Swiss tycoon Stephan Schmidheiny – a key share holder in Eternit, whose factories caused the deaths close to 3,000 people from exposure to asbestos.
Schmidheiny’s 16-year sentence, handed down last year in Italy, has been extended to 18 years.
Eternit, which had several factories across Italy, used asbestos in the production of construction material. The firm went bankrupt 1986, six years before asbestos was banned in Italy.
The Turin Appeals Court, which sentenced Schmidheiny in absentia, said he bore responsibility for what it called ‘a permanent health and environment catastrophe’ and violated work safety rules at his facilities.
The case is the biggest of its kind against a multinational corporation for asbestos-related deaths.