According to ABC News and Associated Press
, French police have arrested two former executives of a defunct French company that was the focus of a breast implant scandal affecting thousands of women around the world.
Jean-Claude Mas, founder and CEO of Poly Implant Prothese and his right hand man, Claude Couty, were nabbed in a pre-dawn raid Thursday in Marseille. The men are suspected of manslaughter and causing involuntary injuries by the implantation of sub-standard breast implants.
Their product has already been pulled from the shelves in Europe and beyond because of fears they could leak silicone into the body. Police say the implants were made with industrial-grade silicone and not medical-grade gel.
"Everything's fine. This conforms to procedure. There's nothing extraordinary," Mas' defense lawyer, Yves Haddad, told reporters outside the home. "Stop looking for the scoop."
The pair has been under investigation since 2010 when a woman in the southwestern Gers region filed a lawsuit when her daughter died after receiving a suspect implant. Another death has been alleged according to the sister Marseille resident Edwige Ligoneches, who died in November of complications from lymphoma after receiving a breast implant from the company.
Mas was on Interpol's "Most Wanted List." The company was shuttered in 2010. It was a drunk driving arrest in Costa Rica last June that landed Mas onto Interpol's list. He had allegedly been hiding out in a house in the Mediterranean village of Six Fours Les Plages over the past several weeks while authorities pondered just what to do and whether or not there was enough evidence to arrest him.
As many as 3,000 complaints have been filed against Mas and his former company, whose website indicates the implants had been exported and sold in 60 countries around the world. No implants were sold in the United States. An estimated 42,000 women in Britain got the implants, with more than 30,000 in France, 9,000 in Australia and 4,000 in Italy. Nearly 25,000 of the implants were sold in Brazil.
Mas was expected to be formally charged on Thursday evening as the various countries debate what to do with the women who received the implants. Czech, French and German health officials say the implants should be removed. Brazilian authorities say they will levy fines against insurance companies that refuse to cover the cost of removal and replacement of the implants, while British health officials say there is just not enough evidence of the implants causing harm to warrant removal in all cases.