Breda-Ansaldo ex-execs cleared in asbestos trial

'Shame' cry dead workers' relatives

(ANSA) - Milan, June 15 - Eight former managers of the Breda Termomeccanica-Ansaldo engineering company were acquitted Thursday of causing the death by asbestos exposure of a dozen workers at its Milan plant between the 1970s and 1985, in line with other recent Milan rulings. The relatives and friends of dead workers cried "shame" when the verdict was read out.
    Prosecutors had asked for sentences ranging from two years to four year and 11 months.
    In his long summing-up, over three hearings, prosecutor Nicola Balice spoke of "gravely culpable" conduct by the defendants, who "completely ignored (asbestos rules) up till 1985." Today's sentence is the latest in a string of such verdicts on alleged culpable manslaughter in the asbestos-related deaths of factory workers.
    On May 12 the Milan court acquitted Paolo Cantarella and Giorgio Garuzzo, respectively ex-CEO and ex-president of Fiat Auto, over 10 cases of workers who died of tumours caused by exposure to asbestos in the Alfa Romeo plant at Arese. In February a Milan appeals court cleared four former ENEL managers accused of manslaughter in the deaths between 2004 and 2012 of eight workers at a power station at Turbigo near Milan. Last November appeals judges overturned the first-instance convictions of 11 Pirelli managers, found guilty in the deaths of some 20 workers from cancer caused by asbestos exposure in two Milanese plants between the 1970s and 1980s.
    The relatives and friends of the dead Breda workers, including the spokesman of the committee for the defence of workplace health, Michele Michelino, voiced their disappointment at the verdict by holding up a banner saying "Remember all the workers killed in the name of profit".
    They shouted after the sentence was read out: "The law is not equal for all, and at the Milan court victims pay and killers go unpunished.
    "This is class justice".