French officials on Friday charged Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of the PIP breast implant company that sparked a global health scare, with "involuntary injury", his lawyer said.
Mas, arrested on Thursday in a manslaughter probe into the company from whom more than 400 000 women worldwide are believed to have received substandard implants, was released on bail of 100 000 euros, lawyer Yves Haddad said.
On Thursday, Mas answered "hundreds of questions", Haddad said, adding the 72-year-old was "very cooperative" and outlined the responsibilities of all company officials and his links with suppliers.
Prosecutors said police also arrested Claude Couty, another former executive at the now-defunct PIP, in southern France.
Fears over PIP implants, which were found to contain industrial-grade silicone gel, spread globally late last year after French health authorities advised 30 000 women to have theirs removed because of an increased risk of rupture.
Between 400 000 and 500 000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received implants from PIP, once the world's third-largest silicone implant producers.
A number of countries, including Germany and the Czech Republic, have followed France in recommending the prostheses be removed as a precaution but Britain has said it will not follow suit.
Thirteen countries in Europe and Latin America have also urged women to have a checkup.
- (Sapa/AFP, January 2012)