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Suspects acquitted in 2010 toxic red sludge spill

All 15 suspects were acquitted today in the October 4, 2010 “red sludge” toxic spill that devastated Ajka and the neighboring villages in western Hungary, after the Veszprém tribunal failed to find any criminal activity, news portal 444.hu reported today.

The verdict is announced in Veszprém in the red sludge disaster. (Photo: MTI/Lajos Nagy)

Several of the directors and employees of aluminium manufacturer MAL were acquitted of charges of negligence causing public endangerment, negligence causing environmental damage and violation of appropriate waste management, according to 444.hu.

The spill occurred when a reservoir of the MAL plant burst, spilling nearly 700,000 cubic meters of highly alkaline and corrosive red mud onto three nearby villages. The spill resulted in the death of ten people and is said to be the worst ever environmental disaster in Hungarian history.

The Hungarian government set aside HUF 400 million in compensation for the 63 victims of the disaster last year, HUF 155 mln of which has been paid out so far, 444.hu reported.

MAL was originally fined HUF 135 billion for environmental damage caused by the disaster and the company was nationalized on October 13, 2010. In 2013, the company began its liquidation procedure, which is still in progress, according to reports.