Former boss faces implant charges

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The ex-boss of the French company at the centre of the breast implant scandal faces charges of “involuntary injury”, his lawyer said.

Jean-Claude Mas, who founded and ran PIP, was released on 100,000 euro (£83,000) bail.

His lawyer, Yves Haddad, said an investigating magistrate ordered the 72-year-old to stay in France and not meet any other former executives of the now closed company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP).

Mas reportedly told police in October the victims were money grabbers and that he had “nothing to say” to them.

Around 40,000 British women have received PIP implants which were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

Mother-of-one Stacey Williams, 25, from Portsmouth, suffers from shooting pains in her left breast after having the implants fitted. She believes Mas is the “main person” responsible for the scandal.

“I’m so angry and upset with him,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in this situation. Something needs to happen to him. It’s all his fault.”

Insurance consultant Mia Ward, 32, from Doncaster, said Mas was “not concerned about people’s health, it was all about the profit”.

She said the implants had caused sleepless nights and she is selling her car to raise the £3,000 needed for a replacement.

Gemma Pepper, 29, from Darlington, said she had felt “sick” until Mas was arrested on Thursday, and it was “brilliant” that he faces charges over the scandal.

Coronation Street actress Vanessa Halstead, 29, who plays a cocktail waitress in the soap, told the Sun she suffered “unbearable” pain before one of her PIP implants exploded.

Yesterday, two more private firms agreed to remove the implants free of charge.

Transform, which has just over 4,000 patients in the UK with the implants, performed a U-turn after originally saying patients would have to pay.

The Hospital Group has also now said it will fund removal of the implants.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has been calling on private clinics to honour the “duty of care” they owe patients after the Government offered free removals to those affected.

The Harley Medical Group, which fitted the breast implants to almost 14,000 British women, has said it will not replace them free of charge.

The group published a statement on its website saying it would remove implants from patients undergoing operations in the last 10 years but only if they had suffered a rupture and had an accompanying scan showing that.

If within the last six years, patients will be eligible for a replacement and between six and 10 years, patients would be charged cost price to replace the implants.

Mas was arrested at his residence in a Mediterranean coastal resort town as part of a judicial investigation. PIP’s former No 2, Claude Couty, was also detained.

Police investigators searched the Mas residence and held him for questioning for seven hours before he was transferred to appear before investigating judge Annaick Le Goff at a Marseille court.

Mas did not speak to reporters after being released on bail.

“Mr Mas was finally able to express himself before the judge. He is relieved to have been able to do so,” Mr Haddad said.

“The magistrate judged that for now there’s no reason to charge him for manslaughter because for the moment, there’s no sign of evidence of this crime. Calm must return to this case,” he added.

On a sole charge of involuntary injury, Mas faces up to a year in prison if convicted. That is not sufficient to allow Ms Le Goff to order him held in custody before trial.