Dutch prosecutors appeal in I.Coast toxic waste case

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Amsterdam prosecutors said Monday they were appealing the acquittal on forgery charges of shipping company Trafigura, fined one million euros for illegally exporting toxic waste to Ivory Coast.

Public prosecutors were also appealing the acquittals of the city of Amsterdam and waste treatment company Amsterdam Port Services (APS) in the 2006 incident, prosecutors' spokeswoman Esther Schreur told AFP.

The Ivory Coast says the waste killed 17 people and caused thousands of cases of poisoning. The Switzerland-based multinational shipping company denies any link between the waste and casualties.

The Amsterdam court on July 23 fined Trafigura one million euros (1.3 million dollars) for breaking European laws on the export of waste transported on the ship Probo Koala, and for hiding the harmful nature of the cargo.

The waste, slops from the cleaning of fuel transportation tanks, was taken to the Amsterdam port in July 2006.

But it was pumped back into the Probo Koala after it was found to be more dangerous than previously thought and APS demanded a higher price to treat it, which Trafigura declined to pay. It was redirected to Abidjan and dumped on the Ivorian city's waste tips.

Prosecutors had asked for Trafigura to be fined two million euros.

The court acquitted the company of a charge of forgery related to the concealment of the true nature of the waste on the ship.

It also threw out a charge of failing to prevent the export of dangerous waste brought against the city of Amsterdam, which administers the port, and imposed no sentence on APS, charged with violating environmental laws.

© 2010 AFP

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