UK & World News
Breast Implant Firm Founder Freed From Prison
The founder of breast implant firm Poly Implant Prothese has been freed from a prison in France after serving eight months for unpaid bail.
Jean-Claude Mas, 73, was jailed in March after he was charged in January with causing grievous bodily harm. The firm had sparked a global health scare over potentially faulty products.
Mas' release was ordered by a French judge but he will still be "placed under judicial supervision", his lawyer Yves Haddad said.
Mas, who is due to go on trial in April 2013, will have his movements restricted and is barred from meeting Claude Couty, his former right-hand man at the company.
Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) shut down in 2010 after it was revealed to have been using substandard industrial-grade silicone gel.
Between 400,000 and 500,000 women in 65 countries - including 30,000 in France alone - are believed to have implants from PIP, once the world's third-largest silicone implant producer.
German and French authorities advised the implants should be taken out, while women given PIP breast implants on the NHS were told they could have them removed for free and private firms were expected to offer the same deal.
Mas was previously a travelling salesman who turned to selling pharmaceuticals. He reportedly founded PIP in 1991 to take advantage of the burgeoning market for cosmetic implants.
He previously confirmed the implants sold by PIP were made with a non-authorised silicon gel, but he rejected any suggestion that they posed a health risk.
Mas and four other former PIP officials will go on trial next year in a keenly-awaited trial that will involve about 180 lawyers and 4,600 complainants.