The CEO of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp’s Italian unit, Herald Espenhahn, has been convicted of murder and sentenced to 16 ½ years in jail for a plant blaze that killed seven workers in Turin, Italy, according to reports published by Bloomberg and Reuters. The April 15 Italian court decision also found five other company officials guilty of manslaughter and sentenced them for up to 13 ½ years in prison.
The sentences mark the first time that workplace deaths in Italy have led to murder charges and convictions. Italy’s Labor Minister Maurizio Sacconi said the verdict sets “a relevant precedent.” In a statement carried by ANSA, the Italian news agency, ThyssenKrupp called the decision “incomprehensible and unexplainable.” Defense lawyer Cesare Zaccone said the decision would be appealed.
The court also fined ThyssenKrupp 1 million euros, ordered it to publicize the ruling in major Italian newspapers, banned the company from advertising its products for six months and barred it from state subsidies for six months.