Ivory Coast: Lawyers walk out of pollution trial
Date: 9 Oct 2008
The trial around the dumping of 500 tons of chemical waste by a company acting on behalf of Dutch firm Trafigura has been halted when defence lawyers walked out in protest at the company's absence from court.
The trial may continue following negotiations with the lawyers. At the heart of the protest is the fact that nobody from Trafigura, which said that it had contracted with a local firm in good faith to dispose of the waste properly, had been prepared to attend the court. The local administrator for the company had been asked to attend as a witness, but had left the country in advance of the trial commencing.
The local firm that Trafigura contracted to treat the waste had simply dumped it at sites around the city. Much of the waste remains where it was originally dumped. Trafigura had paid around $200m to the government without admitting liability.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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