The hearing in Amsterdam today (July 23) cleared the firm of forgery but convicted it of more serious charges of transferring toxic waste.

As a result Trafigura was hit with a fine of Euro one million, about £850,000, following the verdict.

The firm, which denies all charges and is considering an appeal, sent the toxic waste on the freighter Probo Koala from Amsterdam to the Ivory Coast where it was dumped in 2006, which is against European law.

The Dutch court’s ruling is the first time Trafigura has faced direct legal action over the accusations.

But, in 2008, a court in Ivory Coast found two non-Trafigura employees guilty of illegally dumping the waste.

The court sentenced the captain of the ship, Sergiy Chertov 46, to a five-year jail term but suspended the sentence.

And fined Naeem Ahmed, 43, Euros 25,000 for his role in co-ordinating the waste transfer, but dismissed a lesser charge against him.

A Trafigura spokesman said: “While Trafigura is pleased to have been acquitted of the charge of forgery it disappointed by the judges’ ruling on the other two, which it believes to be incorrect.

“The court has decided that different technical legislation is applicable than that claimed by Trafigura in its defence.

“Concerning the delivery of dangerous goods, it is important that the court has noted that there was limited risk to human health from these slops, and indeed no damage occurred in Amsterdam.

“Trafigura will study the court’s findings carefully with a view to appeal.”

He added that the firm continues to maintain that Mr Naeem ‘did nothing wrong’ and would provide him and his legal team with ‘whatever legal assistance’ they may require.

The United Nations has estimated 15 deaths in the Ivory Coast are related to the dumping.

Luke Walsh

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