February 13, 2012 / 12:50 PM / 7 years ago

Swiss, Belgian sentenced to jail in Italy asbestos trial

TURIN, Italy, Feb 13 (Reuters) - An Italian court on Monday sentenced a Swiss tycoon and a Belgian baron to 16 years in jail for negligence that led to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths in the biggest trial of its kind.

Swiss Stephan Schmidheiny and Belgian Jean Louis Marie Ghislain De Cartier De Marchienne were accused of intentionally omitting to put in place measures to prevent asbestos damage at Swiss firm Eternit’s Italian plants.

The defendants, who were not in court, were charged for their role as executives at Eternit’s Italian affiliate Eternit SpA. Their lawyers have said they bear no responsibility in the case.

The company closed its Italian operations in 1986. (Reporting By Paola Italiano)

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