French breast implant company founder gets four years in prison

Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:05 AM

MARSEILLE, France, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The founder of a French PIP breast implant company was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud Tuesday for using industrial-grade silicone in implants.

Jean-Claude Mas, 74, was also fined $103,000 and four other executives received lesser sentences, Radio France Internationale reported.

Former general manager Claude Couty was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $41,200, quality control director Hannelore Font and production director Loic Gossart were sentenced to two years in prison, and research director Thierry Brinon was given an 18-month suspended jail term, British newspaper the Independent reported.

Brinon was the only defendant to admit any wrongdoing.

More than 7,500 plaintiffs participated in the case, in which the defendants were accused of substituting inexpensive industrial- and agricultural-grade silicone in breast implants for a decade and concealing evidence from experts.

PIP was the world's third-largest breast implant supplier and sold 300,000 in 65 countries.

About 4,000 French women reported their implants ruptured. RFI said about half of the 30,000 women with the implants had to have them removed.

Health officials in several countries have said the implants aren't toxic and don't increase the risk of breast cancer.

In France, officials began a 10-year case study to determine the implants' long-term effects.

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