Thursday, September 17, 2009

Corporate criminals

In August 2006, an oil tanker hired by oil-trading company Trafigura dumped hundreds of tons of toxic waste around the Ivory Coast port of Abidjan. Seventeen people died, 30,000 were injured, and over a hundred thousand got sick. Ever since, Trafigura has denied any responsibility, and sought to bully and intimidate those seeking justice into silence with threats and legal cases.

Now, the BBC has published Trafigura's internal emails on the subject [PDF]. They show that Trafigura knew that the waste was dangerous and that it could not be legally disposed of in the European Union, United States, or most other western countries. Having tried to dump it in the Netherlands anyway (and been caught), they then turned to Nigeria, and then eventually to the Ivory Coast, with tragic results.

Now that the true story has come out, the company is trying to settle with those it made ill. but that's not enough. People died. And the corporate criminals whose conspiracy and depraved indifference resulted in their deaths should be prosecuted for murder.