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Breast-implant maker charged, posts bail

Jan. 27, 2012 at 8:45 AM

PARIS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The founder of a French company being investigated for substandard breast implants was released on bail Friday, his attorney said.

Jean-Claude Mas had been arrested the day before in an investigation begun after a woman whose implants ruptured died from a rare form of cancer, The New York Times reported.

The criminal complaint alleged manslaughter but Mas' lawyer, Yves Haddad, told a French broadcaster the judge investigating the case was considering a possible charge of involuntary injury.

Mas posted bail of $131,000. His release carries the conditions that he not leave France or contact other former executives of Poly Implants Protheses, the company he founded, the Times said.

Claude Couty, a former Poly Implants Protheses executive, was detained, officials said.

Officials closed the company in March 2010 after it was revealed it used industrial-grade silicone, not surgical grade, as a cost-saving measure in hundreds of thousands of implants sold globally. The implants have a higher rupture rate than the norm and the silicone can break or leak into other parts of the body.

French officials said they had no evidence the PIP implants cause cancer but urged women to have them removed because the silicone could irritate body tissues and cause inflammation, the Times said.

"We're now in the hands of justice," Mas' lawyer told Europe 1 radio. "We're perfectly happy with that, because we can explain ourselves, as we did all day."

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