Bloomberg News

Italian Asbestos Trial Conviction ‘Historic,’ Minister Says

February 14, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- A court ruling sentencing Eternit AG’s former owner and also the company’s biggest shareholder to 16 years in prison in connection with asbestos-related deaths is “historic,” Italy’s health minister said.

“The ruling can be defined as truly historic as far as both the social aspects and the legal aspects are concerned,” Renato Balduzzi said in an e-mailed statement today. “The fight against asbestos cannot end with a ruling, although a model one, but has to continue.”

A court in Turin, in northern Italy, ruled today that Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny and Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier, respectively Eternit’s former owner and its top shareholder, were partially responsible for hundreds of deaths and illnesses caused by asbestos in factories the company owned in Italy. The two men were also sentenced to pay damages to be determined in a separate civil proceeding to victims’ relatives and to a number of local authorities.

--Editors: Andrew Davis, Jeffrey Donovan

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at

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