Goodyear affair: “numerous computer data” seized during searches

“A lot of computer data” was seized during searches carried out at the American tire giant Goodyear, “which will be able to be used by investigators,” declared the Besançon public prosecutor on Thursday, May 16

Goodyear affair: “numerous computer data” seized during searches

“A lot of computer data” was seized during searches carried out at the American tire giant Goodyear, “which will be able to be used by investigators,” declared the Besançon public prosecutor on Thursday, May 16.

These searches were carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday on sites in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Prosecutor Etienne Manteaux, however, stressed that Goodyear could still challenge the seizures made in Luxembourg and Belgium in court. “The handing over of the seals to French investigators will therefore be subject to the validation of the seizures carried out by a judge in Luxembourg and Belgium,” he declared during a press conference.

The magistrate returned at length on this occasion to the three files of fatal accidents which occurred in Doubs and Somme in July 2014, and in Yvelines in April 2016. Four people died in collisions caused each time by the bursting of the left front tire of heavy goods vehicles causing the driver to lose control. Four other accident files, causing three deaths, were also included in the procedure, but only for information purposes because they were prescribed.

“In these different procedures, there were therefore eight separate assessments, carried out by seven different experts, who noted” the failures of the Goodyear Marathon LHS II and LHS II tires.

Many ancient accident seals destroyed

The American giant is accused of having been aware of a defect in its tires, but of not having carried out a recall campaign, settling for an exchange program.

Mr. Manteaux also regretted that in a certain number of other heavy goods vehicle accidents “we cannot define the actual brand of the tire which burst and given the age of the facts, all these seals were destroyed.” “It’s absolutely saddening. » “Often the bursting of a tire is seen as the fault of bad luck or a sudden puncture,” he noted, which could lead to certain requests being closed after accidents.

Sophie Rollet, whistleblower who brought this affair to light and whose husband died in one of these accidents, also believes that there are “many more victims” due to the bursting of Goodyear tires. “But we will never be able to identify them for multiple systemic pitfalls. » Mr. Manteaux praised “the determination of Ms. Rollet, who was central in this procedure to advance the investigations.”