An Italian court has convicted the head of ThyssenKrupp's Italian steel unit, along with other managers, over the deaths of seven workers in a fire at its Turin plant. The German company also received a hefty fine.
Steelmaker ThyssenKrupp was also fined over the fire
The chief executive of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp's Italian unit was sentenced to 16.5 years in jail on Friday over charges related to a factory fire that killed seven employees in December 2007.
Harald Espenhahn was convicted by a court in the northern city of Turin of "voluntary homicide," a first in Italy for a workplace accident.
Seven workers died after suffering severe burns when a fire broke out at the steel plant's thermal treatment department. The fire was one of the worst in Italy and sparked a public debate over health and safety regulations.
ThyssenKrupp called the verdict 'inexplicable'
The Italian court also handed out lengthy jail terms to five other managers and fined the company 1 million euros ($1.45 million). In addition, the steel 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.
The steelmaker called the verdict against Espenhahn "incomprehensible and inexplicable," adding that its attorneys would look into what can be done about it.
"We are totally unsatisfied and we will appeal," defense lawyer Cesare Zaccone said after the verdict. "But I don't believe we will obtain a lot more."
The verdict was welcomed by prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello who said it would "mean a lot for health and safety at the workplace."
Author: Joanna Impey (AP, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Toma Tasovac
Two Air France mangers whose shirts were ripped off by activists have scaled a fence and fled under police protection after protesters stormed the airline's HQ. The demonstration was against proposed layoffs.
The "Bild" newspaper has claimed that the German government is secretly expecting some 1.5 million asylum seekers this year. The government denied it, even as political leaders hardened their refugee rhetoric.
Frankfurt airport is Germany's largest and Europe's third-busiest airport. Monday saw the official ground-breaking ceremony for a controversial new terminal.
Full color: Two light festivals at once will illuminate Berlin over the next two weeks. Both events are free and cast their spell on two million people each year.