Disgraced former head of defunct French breast implant maker freed from jail

The disgraced former CEO of a French breast implant company whose substandard products set off international safety concerns last year has been freed from jail, Reuters reports, pending a trial in 2013. Meanwhile, an attorney representing women suing over the implants expressed concern that Jean-Claude Mas will skip town and escape justice.

"For the victims, we are satisfied that judges in Marseille kept Jean-Claude Mas in custody for as long as the law permitted," Laurent Gaudet is quoted as saying in the Reuters piece. "Today, we are worried that Mr. Mas will not appear for his trial."

A judge released Mas from jail under court supervision, after he spent 8 months in incarceration. Mas, who ran the now-defunct Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), hadn't posted bail. Mas is limited to where he can travel in southeastern France and must check in once weekly with his local police station, according to the article.

And he has a sobering 2013 to look forward to. The Reuters article notes that he and 6 other senior PIP executives are set to stand trial over various fraud charges. Prosecutors allege that they were culpable for their company's production of inferior breast implants.

Reports began to surface last year that the PIP implants ruptured more easily than standard ones. The hysteria heated up soon after, when a French woman with PIP implants died of cancer, and health officials recommended that women with the implants have them removed (Reuters notes that more than 300,000 women around the world carried the PIP breast implant).  Mas stirred the pot even further when, during a brief radio interview, he admitted using unapproved silicone in breast implants, denied any health risks and said the French government's removal recommendation was "criminal."

European regulators are proposing an implant register and tighter regulations in response to the health care.

- read the Reuters story