A French judge has ordered the release of the founder of the breast implant company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) after serving eight months in prison for unpaid bail, Agence France-Presse reported.
Jean-Claude Mas, 73, is still under judicial supervision, according to his attorney, and due to go on trial in April. He is also barred from meeting with Claude Couty, his former colleague at PIP.
PIP, which was once the world’s third-largest silicone implant producer, was shut down in 2010 after it was revealed the company used substandard industrial-grade gel in its implants.
According to estimates, between 400,000 and 500,000 women in 65 countries have implants from PIP.
Mas founded PIP in 1991 after observing the demand for cosmetic implants. He reportedly told investigators he fooled health inspectors with fake business data.
The industrial-grade gel used in 75 percent of PIP breast implants saved the company $1.3 million a year, according to a company executive.
The trial will begin April 17, 2013 and involve approximately 180 lawyers and 4,600 complainants. French officials say 20 women in France who have the faulty products also have been diagnosed with cancer, though add there is no proven link.