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Police arrest, charge head of French implant firm

Paris — French authorities have arrested and filed preliminary charges against Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which was shut down in 2010 after regulators discovered it was making breast implants with non-medical-grade silicone.

The PIP implants have been at the center of a global health scare over the safety of the devices.

The Guardian of Great Britain reports that Mr. Mas was arrested at his villa in the south of France late last week. He was placed under investigation on a criminal charge of causing bodily harm and, after hours of questioning, was released on $130,000 bail and prohibited from leaving France.

The Guardian reports Mr. Mas will not be investigated on a manslaughter charge involving the 2010 cancer death of a French woman who had PIP implants, but that he will face a fraud trial over the manufacture of the implants. That trial is expected to start in October.

In December 2011, the French government advised 30,000 women to have substandard PIP implants removed following health officials’ warnings that they were more likely to rupture than other implants. The Guardian reports Mr. Mas had been using a homemade gel, which included a mixture of agricultural- and industrial-grade silicone, to cut costs. The warning sparked fear in the thousands of women worldwide who had received PIP implants, including 40,000 in the U.K. The British government has since declared that there is no urgent clinical need for all women with the implants to have them removed.

The BBC reports that as many as 400,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have had the substandard devices implanted, and that Mr. Mas has been under investigation since he revealed in a police interview last year that PIP ordered employees to hide the substandard silicone when authorities inspected PIP’s factory.

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