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Ricky Bagolie
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Australia's Securities Regulator Sues James Hardie Over Asbestos Liability

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According to Bloomberg News, out of Sydney, Australia’s securities regulator sued James Hardie Industries, the biggest seller of home sidings in the United States, claiming the company misled investors over the cost of compensating people sickened by asbestos.

The chairman, Meredith Hellicar, the former chief executive officer, Peter MacDonald, and eight other officials face bans from running a public company and fines of more than 200,000 Australian dollars, or $160,000, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission said in an e-mailed statement. Criminal charges are still being investigated. James Hardie “isn’t in a position to comment further,” according to a company statement to the stock exchange.

The suit centers on an inadequate , under funded and fraudulent scheme put together by James Hardie to compensate victims of exposure to it’s asbestos. The 293 million dollar fund was not “sufficient” to compensate victims of asbestos poisoning and a government inquiry later found the fund would have run out of money in three years . The company was forced to set up a new 1.6 billion dollar compensation fund. The government found that the company and its directors mislead investos about the cost to pay for the asbestos liability.

The company started using asbestos in Australia in the 1920s. The fibrous mineral, used to make brake pads and fiber cement sheets for housing, has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, a form of cancer affecting the chest or abdomen.

People exposed to asbestos or who contract asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon cancer or stomach cancer have rights and should speak to an attorney familiar with handling those types of cases. Bagolie Friedman Injury Lawyers offers aggressive representation and free consultations to those stricken with an asbestos condition.