Trafigura: Newsnight to apologise
The BBC news programme Newsnight will pay £25,0000 to charity and make on air apology after it withdrew claims that oil-traders Trafigura caused deaths in Ivory Coast
17 Dec 09

BBC Press statement

The BBC has played a leading role in bringing to the public’s attention the actions of Trafigura in the illegal dumping of 500 tons of hazardous waste in Abidjan in 2006. The dumping caused a public health emergency with tens of thousands of people seeking treatment.

Last month, Trafigura agreed to pay victims of the waste around £30 million in compensation, having previously paid compensation of over £100 million to the Ivory Coast government.Trafigura brought libel proceedings against the BBC over one aspect of its reporting: claims that the waste had caused deaths, miscarriages and serious long term health effects. An official Ivory Coast Government report into the incident had stated that people had died because of the waste and a recent United Nations report also found that there was strong prima facie evidence linking the waste to a number of deaths.

Last month Trafigura agreed to pay victims of the waste around £30 million in compensation for sickness suffered. However, the experts in that case were not able to establish a link between the waste and serious long term consequences including deaths. In light of this, the BBC acknowledges that the evidence does not establish that Trafigura’s slops caused deaths, miscarriages or serious or long term injuries. Accordingly, the BBC has withdrawn those allegations and has agreed to broadcast an appropriate apology on Newsnight. The BBC will pay £25,000 to a charity of Trafigura’s choice.