Dutch company pays nearly $200 million to help resolve Ivory Coast mess

Six months after toxic sludge was pumped from a ship and dumped in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, leading to 10 deaths and thousands of poisonings, the company responsible will pay the country nearly $200 million. Oops, did we say responsible? Trafigura, the Dutch-based company that chartered the ship o’ death, says the fee is not an admission of guilt. In fact, part of the settlement will go toward an “independent” investigation of who’s at fault. The money — which secured the release of three Trafigura executives held prisoner in the Ivory Coast since September, when they arrived “on a mission to help the people of Abidjan,” said one — will also fund a hospital and waste disposal facility. Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo called the deal “a good agreement that will allow the state to compensate the victims,” but others weren’t so sure. “It does not do justice to the facts,” said Helen Perivier of Greenpeace International, “because the full liability and the damages have yet to be assessed.”