The jail sentences were handed out last Monday by Judges in Ivrea, Italy, to fifteen of the seventeen former bosses who were on trial. The heaviest sentences were given to Franco De Benedetti and brother, Carlo. Each received a jail term of five years and two months.
The two brothers worked in a number of different senior-level roles at Olivetti between 1979 and 1996. Judge Elena Stoppini ruled that they were responsible for a total of ten out of fourteen deaths that were being investigated.
They each failed to respond to risks that the factory workers at Olivetti were faced with from asbestos-rich dust that was created during production, until it was far too late.
Carlo De Benedetti told the press, “I’m shocked and bitter that the judges have accepted these unfounded allegations.”
“I’ve been condemned for crimes I did not commit. Under my management, Olivetti always had the maximum care for the safety and well-being of its employees.”
Other former Olivetti bosses jailed over asbestos include Corrado Passera, Italy’s ex transport and infrastructure minister. He was co-managing director of the Olivetti group in the period between 1992 and 1996.
Corrado Passera was jailed for a total one year and eleven months.
Prosecutor, Laura Longo, said, “My satisfaction is limited because this is yet another case where deaths could have been avoided.”
“The difference between Olivetti and other companies is that it continued to use asbestos until the middle of the 1990s.”
The trial began in January of this year and while preparing for the trial, the prosecution team gathered a whopping 36,000 pages of evidence from a period of over 50 years of Olivetti’s history.
The fifty years worth of evidence included damning verbal testimonies from it’s ex employees from across all sectors within the company.
More than 5 million euros is being pursued in compensation claims by the victim’s grieving families following the case of Olivetti bosses jailed over asbestos.
The manslaughter case against Olivetti has been ongoing since 2005. It is then that retired employee, Lucia Delaurenti, died of malignant mesothelioma which is a form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos. Lucia worked for Olivetti between 1965 and 1980.
And this is by no means an isolated case within Italy, as other big name brands have also got into trouble recently with regards to asbestos related deaths. In July of last year, Pirelli, the world renowned tyre manufacturer, hit the headlines after eleven ex managers were charged with manslaughter, following the deaths of 24 people who worked at their factory who were exposed to asbestos.
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/. Alternatively call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for enquiries or to book a training course.
Published Jul 26, 2016