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Italian court convicts ex-executives in asbestos trial

July 18, 2016

ROME (AP) — A court in the northern Italian city of Ivrea has convicted former Olivetti executive Carlo De Benedetti and 12 others of manslaughter and other offenses over workers’ deaths or illnesses blamed on asbestos exposure.

The industrialist received a 5-year-2-month prison term Monday. He will not be jailed while his appeals are heard.

The website of La Repubblica newspaper, part of an editorial group headed by De Benedetti, carried his contention that when he ran the Italian computer and office machines maker, Olivetti properly protected workers’ health and safety.

De Benedetti headed Olivetti from 1978-1996. He says that from the mid-1970s, Olivetti didn’t purchase talc contaminated by asbestos fibers.

Prosecutor Laura Longo said the deaths “could have and should have been avoided.”

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