Costa Rican drunk driving charge creates international crook

International Police Agency photo Jean-Claude Mas as pictured on the INTERPOL Web site

The European media promoted to international criminal status the founder of a silicone breast implant manufacturer.

He is Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of Poly Implant Prothese. He was in the news because his company was shut down and the French government said that the breast implants were more likely to leak than other brands. French officials said they would begin to pay for a process to remove implants from some 30,000 of its citizens as a precautionary measure. There were about 1,000 cases of implant ruptures in France alone, officials said.

The international media jumped on the story with such force that the International Police Agency issued an unusual disclaimer.

The Daily Mail, for example, said that Mas, was on the agency’s most-wanted list, based on a warrant from Costa Rica for crimes involving “life and health.” Said the headline “Interpol launches manhunt for breast implant ‘butcher.’” Mas once worked as a butcher.

INTERPOL said on its Web site that Mas was sought in Costa Rica to answer a June 2010 drunk driving allegation. It added:

INTERPOL has never launched an ‘international manhunt’ for Mr. Jean-Claude Mas for the above charge or any other charge. The above charge is like thousands of others for which an INTERPOL member country (Costa Rica) wants to alert all other INTERPOL member countries that a person — in this case, Mr Jean-Claude Mas — is wanted for arrest; that a warrant issued by a judicial body supports the request for arrest and that Costa Rica is prepared to seek his extradition if any INTERPOL member country arrests him on the basis of the Red Notice.

INTERPOL said that the Costa Rican case totally unconnected to the company, Poly Implant Prothese, which allegedly sold thousands of breast implants currently under suspicion of posing a potential health risk to hundreds of thousands of women worldwide in whom they have been implanted.

Costa Rica asked for help from INTERPOL last June but still uncertain is if the country will spend the money to extradite Mas if he is detained in Europe or elsewhere.

The INTERPOL release appeared on the Web site Christmas Eve. There was little more information on the international agency’s Web site except that Mas was 72 and was born in Tarbes, France.

He is one of some 72 persons listed as being wanted by Costa Rica on the INTERPOL Web site.

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