Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Seven African countries' economies at risk over Brexit decision

Read more

THE DEBATE

Britain votes out: What next?

Read more

#TECH 24

The 'fintech' revolution

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

A certified 'palace': How hotels strive for excellence

Read more

#THE 51%

In her own image: Women in Art

Read more

REPORTERS

World War I: When northern France was on German time

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#Brexit sparks a storm on social media

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets, pound plunge on Brexit vote

Read more

France

Prosecutors target Total subsidiary in fertilizer blast trial

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-06-25

Prosecutors have requested a maximum fine for a subsidiary of energy giant Total on trial over one of western Europe's worst industrial accidents in recent years. In 2001, an explosion at a Toulouse fertilizer plant killed 31 people.

State prosecution in Toulouse requested on Wednesday a maximum fine of 225,000 euros for Total subsidiary Grande Paroisse over an explosion in 2001 at its AZF plant in Toulouse, southwestern France, that killed 31 people.

 

Patrice Michel, one of the prosecutors in the case, also recommended a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a 45,000-euro fine for the former manager of the chemical fertiliser plant, Serge Biechelin, on trial for manslaughter and involuntary injury.

 

However, French prosecutors recommended oil company Total and former head Thierry Desmarest should not be sentenced over the accident.

 

The gigantic explosion at the AZF plant in September 2001 was one of the worst industrial accidents in western Europe in recent years. As well as 31 dead, more than 2,000 people were injured in the explosion, which damaged 30,000 homes and hundreds of businesses within a radius of about six kilometers.

 

In February, a French court decided Total and Desmarest should appear alongside the subsidiary at the request of lawyers representing around 15 of the victims.

 

Judges have ruled that an accident was the most likely cause of the explosion, and investigators have accused AZF of negligence in stocking volatile ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in its fertilisers.

 

Total has paid 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in compensation but has denied any wrongdoing and said the payout did not in any way constitute an acknowledgement of criminal responsibility.
 

Date created : 2009-06-24

COMMENT(S)