French implant boss released, faces bodily harm charge

Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:40pm EST
 
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By Jean-François Rosnoblet

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Jean-Claude Mas, the Frenchman who sparked a global health scare by selling substandard breast implants, was released from police custody on Friday and faces a charge of causing bodily harm, his lawyer said.

Mas will not be investigated for the graver charge of manslaughter, as was expected, but does now face criminal charges which carry longer sentences than those he faces in a fraud case expected to go to trial around October.

He was released on bail of 100,000 euros ($131,600), banned from leaving the country and from meeting former executives of his now defunct company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

"We are satisfied that Mr Mas could explain himself to a judge," his lawyer Yves Haddad said on iTele television. "This is a relief for him."

"On the charge of involuntary homicide, the judge decided that for now there is no link," Haddad said.

In the first arrests since the two-year-old scandal made headlines worldwide in December, Mas and a second PIP executive were seized at their homes in southern France just after dawn.

Women who have been campaigning against PIP since French authorities banned its products nearly two years ago welcomed the move as giving them a sense that the law was now in action:

"It's been too long," said Murielle Ajellio, who heads an association for women with implants. Up to now, she said: "You feel like you're fighting against the wind."   Continued...