ThyssenKrupp's Italian CEO convicted of homicidePublished by MAC on 2011-05-02
Source: International Metalworkers Federation, Reuters
Seven workers died in a steel plant fire in 2007
In an historic ruling on voluntary homicide, ThyssenKrupp's CEO for Italy has been sentenced to more than sixteen years in prison, following the deaths of seven workers in a December 2007 blaze at one of its steel plants in Italy.
ThyssenKrupp CEO for Italy convicted on deaths
By Anita Gardner
International Metalworkers Federation
20 April 2011
In an historic ruling on voluntary homicide, ThyssenKrupp's CEO for Italy was sentenced to 16 and a half years in prison on charges related to the deaths of seven workers in December 2007 at a steel plant in Turin, Italy.
ITALY: A court in Turin sentenced ThyssenKrupp's CEO for Italy, Harald Espenhahn, to 16 and a half years in prison on April 15 for the murder of seven workers that died in a fire at the transnational's steel factory in Turin on December 6, 2007.
Five other company officials were also convicted on manslaughter charges and sentenced to up to 13 and a half years in prison. The German company received a 1 million euros fine. In addition, the company will not be allowed to benefit from Italian state subsidies for six months. During the same period, ThyssenKrupp will also be banned from advertising its products in Italy.
At the time of the incident the company was gradually dissolving the factory, with only 200 of the former 400 employees remaining, and failed to maintain health and safety standards. The prosecution's investigation into the incident proved that the CEO was fully aware of the risks and decided not to take the minimum measures required by law at the plant.
The court's ruling, which can be challenged, is historic as it sets an important precedent in recognizing the CEO as responsible of voluntary homicide, a first in Italy for a workplace accident.
One worker died immediately in the horrific blaze at the plant in Turin, while the other six died later in hospital. The deaths prompted a nation-wide campaign for improved safety measures in the workplace.
According to press reports, the verdict in this case was welcomed by prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello who said it would "mean a lot for health and safety at the workplace."
ThyssenKrupp Italy CEO sentenced to jail over fire
15 April 2011
Italy - The chief executive of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp's Italian unit, Herald Espenhahn, was sentenced to 16-1/2 years in jail on Friday over charges related to a fire that killed seven workers in 2007.
Five other managers received 10-year plus sentences and the company was fined 1 million euros ($1.45 million) after a court ruled they should be held responsible for the fire.
"We are totally unsatisfied and we will appeal. But I don't believe we will obtain a lot more," defence lawyer Cesare Zaccone said after the court's verdict was read out by the president of the Turin Assizes, Maria Iannibelli.
The verdict was welcomed by prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello who said it would "mean a lot for health and safety at the workplace."
Four ThyssenKrupp officials -- Marco Pucci, Gerald Pregnitz, Giuseppe Salerno and Cosimo Cafueri -- received 13-1/2 year jail sentences, while Daniele Moroni received a sentences of 10 years and 10 months.
Apart from the fine, the court ruled that the Italian ThyssenKrupp special steels unit would not be allowed to benefit from state subsidies for six months. It was also ordered to publicise the ruling in major Italian newspapers and banned from advertising its products for six months.
($1=.6918 euro) (Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by Ted Kerr)