THE head of a breast implant company at the centre of a worldwide health scare has admitted that an unapproved silicone gel was used in some of his company's products.
Jean-Claude Mas, speaking through his lawyer Yves Haddad, told The Times that his now-bankrupt company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) made implants using high-quality gel for rich clients .
But "simple" versions sold at discount prices used industrial-grade silicone that had not received approval by health authorities.
Mr Mas admitted that a product made by PIP "did not formally receive approval, and in this regard there was a violation of regulations".
"Why did this company use this kind of product? Because it was a corporation with economic objectives and because of corporate management that tried to get the best cost," he said.
"There was a basic product and there was a high-end product, for people in the 16th [arrondissement] for example," he added, referring to the upmarket Paris district.
According to PIP, the "house gel" version was "just as effective but five times cheaper" than the more expensive type.
Mr Haddad said that Mr Mas, 72, maintained that the unapproved silicone gel was safe.
An international arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Mas, whose whereabouts are unknown. His lawyer said: "He will express himself in front of the courts. He's at home, he's not on the run. Moreover, he can't walk because he's just been operated on."
Earlier this week it emerged that PIP had been found to be producing "adulterated" products more than a decade ago.
The French government is footing the bill for 30,000 women to have their implants removed amid fears they could rupture and leak a questionable type of silicone gel.