A Dutch court has found multinational Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam and concealing the nature of the cargo.
Trafigura is one of the largest independent companies trading commodities today. They are involved in the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores and concentrates for industrial consumers
In 2006, Trafigura transported waste alleged to have been involved in the injury of thousands of people in Ivory Coast. Trafigura denied any wrongdoing.It expressed disappointment in the ruling and is considering an appeal. The firm was fined 1m euros (£836,894) for its ship, the Probo Koala, transiting Amsterdam with its cargo. The ship then went on to unload its cargo in Ivory Coast.
Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed, who was involved in the ship's operation in Amsterdam, was fined 25,000 euros and the captain of the Probo Koala, 46-year-old Sergiy Chertov, was sentenced to a five-year suspended jail term.
This is the first time Trafigura has faced criminal charges since the toxic waste scandal unfolded in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, in 2006.
Trafigura initially tried to clean up low-grade oil by tipping caustic soda into the hold of the Probo Koala. The company tried to unload the waste in Amsterdam for treatment, declaring it as "harmless slops".
When the treatment company came back with a higher price for cleaning the waste, the cargo was shipped to Africa where it ended up in Abidjan to be handled at a much lower rate. Presiding Judge Frans Bauduin said: "Trafigura - which by that time knew of the exact composition [of the waste] - should never have agreed to its processing at such a price."