Oil Giant Tries to Settle Biggest- Ever UK Lawsuit

Trafigura offers deal to Africans sickened by toxic sludge
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 8:49 AM CDT
A man pointing to his unusable fields near a warning for a toxic zone still unsafe after the discovery of hundreds of tons of dumped toxic waste near Abidjan    (AFP/Getty Images)

(Newser) – A British multinational has offered a multimillion-dollar payout to settle a case involving toxic pollution in the Ivory Coast, the Independent reports. A contractor working for oil trading firm Trafigura dumped hundreds of tons of toxic sludge around Abidjan in 2006, sickening tens of thousands. Some were permanently disfigured, and the dumping has been linked to 15 deaths.

Thousands of Ivorians who suffered short-term illnesses and vomiting after the dumping will receive payments of several hundred dollars under the settlement. Trafigura—which a recent UN report accused of “stifling independent reporting and public criticism”—continues to deny liability and has deployed teams of lawyers from one of the UK's most aggressive firms to dispute media coverage of the case.