Swiss Company Owner Found Guilty In Asbestos Related Case

A Swiss billionaire who owns the majority of stock in the company Eternit Genova was recently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The company Eternit Genova is an Italian asbestos company, one in which Stephan Schmidheiny was the main shareholder in. Due to the actions of the company and Stephan Schmidheiny, he will face up to four years of prison, having been found guilty for the involuntary manslaughter of two people in Turin, Italy.     The battle between Schmidheiny, former Eternit workers, the Turin prosecution, and the locals living around Eternit Genova’s asbestos plants had been going on for a decade by the time Stephan Schmidheiny had been found guilty.  According to Turin prosecutor Gianfranco Colace, Stephan Schmidheiny being found guilty will set an important precedent regarding the deaths related to past exposure to asbestos.     Schmidheiny has been working for the past decade to get multiple charges dropped against him. During this guilty sentence, Stephan Schmidheiny did not attend the court hearing. However, he has been working in other countries to clear his name. Schmidheiny also faced charges in Switzerland, but these were ultimately dropped. Along with his charges in Switzerland, Schmidheiny was sentenced by a Turin court to 16 years in prison. It was alleged that he was responsible for over 3,000 deaths due to Eternit exposing people to asbestos contaminated building materials. Although sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court got rid of the sentence in 2014, so Schmidheiny did not face any jail time.     Schmidheiny was the board president of Swiss Eternit Group. His father was the original creator of this company. Swiss Eternit Group was a company that produced construction materials, construction materials are very commonly contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is a very good insulator due to its heat-resistant and resilient qualities, making it a prime candidate for many different construction materials. The construction materials made by Swiss Eternit Group did in fact use asbestos, but Schmidheiny argues that he was not involved with the group by the time asbestos was known to be dangerous and is therefore not guilty.

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