Dutch prosecutors want Trafigura fine doubled

17th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch prosecutors Thursday asked a court to slap a two-million-euro fine on multinational oil trader Trafigura for the illegal export of toxic waste later dumped in Ivory Coast.

An appeal by both prosecutors and Trafigura opened Monday against a million-dollar fine imposed on the company last year for breaking European export laws when a toxic cargo arrived in Amsterdam before being shipped off to Abidjan.

"Trafigura have been grossly negligent in its duty and broke the rules in order to save money," prosecutors stated in a press release sent to AFP.

"Therefore, the prosecution is demanding a fine of two million euros against Trafigura," they told an Amsterdam court.

A further fine of 150,000 euros should also be imposed on Amsterdam Port Services (APS), which was responsible for the treatment of the toxic waste that arrived on board the ship Probo Koala, prosecutors said.

On July 23 last year the court found Trafigura guilty of hiding the cargo's real nature when it arrived in Amsterdam on July 2, 2006.

Judges however acquitted the company of forgery.

Judges also acquitted the city of Amsterdam, which manages the port and the APS of responsibility for the waste treatment.

After arrival, toxic residues on board the Probo Koala were prevented from being offloaded for treatment in Amsterdam's port and redirected to Abidjan, where it was dumped on city waste tips.

Trafigura, which denies any link between the waste and subsequent deaths and has an independent experts' report backing its stance, reached out of court settlements for 33 million euros and 152 million euros in Britain and Ivory Coast that exempted it from legal proceedings.

But a United Nations report published in September 2009, found "strong" evidence blaming the waste for at least 15 deaths.

From Monday next week the defense will have its say for a scheduled three days and judgement will be reserved.

© 2011 AFP

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