The founder of a now-defunct French company that used industrial-grade silicone in breast implants has been given four years in prison for fraud. Hundreds of thousands of women received the faulty implants.
The court in the southern French city of Marseille on Tuesday found Jean-Claude Mas, founder of the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) company, guilty of aggravated fraud and sentenced him to the maximum four years in jail. The court also ordered him to pay a fine of 75,000 euros ($103,000).
The court found that Mas had sought to conceal the true nature of implants PIP had made using cheaper silicone instead of the kind meant for use in human beings.
Mas, who, during the one-month trial last April, admitted to using the industrial-grade gel in the production of the implants, insisted that they posed no health hazard. French health authorities, though, found that using the cheaper silicone made the implants more prone to rupture than ones containing gel meant for implantation.
Four other former executives received lesser sentences.
The use of the sub-standard silicone sparked a worldwide scandal and panic in 2011 after the French government recommended that women with such implants have them removed. More than 13,000 have had them removed since the warning was issued.
The implants are believed to have been used in between 300,000 and 400,000 women in more than 60 countries.
pfd/kms (Reuters, dpa)