Spanish court shelves deadly Panama cough syrup probe

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Spain's top criminal court upheld Tuesday a lower court decision to shelve a probe into the deaths of hundreds of people in Panama who took cough syrup made from glycerin imported by a Spanish firm.

In 2006 Barcelona-based Rasfer imported 9,000 litres of glycerine from China that was not intended for human use which was then used by a company in Panama to make a cough mixture. About 250 died after taking the syrup.

A Spanish court ruled in April that there was no criminal intent on behalf of the company which was only an intermediary and could not be held responsible for the Chinese factory supplying it with the wrong type of glycerin.

Panama's social security authorities and the lawyers representing family members of the victims rejected the argument and filed an appeal.

But a three-judge panel on Spain's National Court rejected the appeal and upheld the lower court's decision to shelve the investigation.

© 2011 AFP

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