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Bangladeshi High Court orders seizure of assets following factory collapse

The collapse occurred one day after inspectors reportedly found cracks in the building

In the wake of a deadly factory collapse in Bangladesh, that country’s High Court ordered the seizure of assets belonging to several individuals who owned property in the ill-fated complex.

The eight-story Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, killing at least 400 people and leaving more than 2,400 others temporarily trapped under the debris, Bloomberg reports. On Tuesday, the High Court ordered officials to seize the assets of Mohammed Sohel Rana, who owned the Rana Plaza, along with those of four other individuals whose garment factories are located in the complex.

Rana, who fled following the disaster, was also arrested earlier this week. The collapse occurred one day after inspectors reportedly discovered cracks in the building and ordered the evacuation of workers. Rana and some other employers, however, allegedly told workers that the building was safe and ordered them to return to work.

The tragedy has spurred regulators and retailers in Bangladesh and worldwide to examine their labor and trade practices. Representatives from 45 companies—including Gap Inc., Nike Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.—discussed worker safety concerns in a meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Associations, Reuters reports.

The European Union is also weighing a change to trade rules that give Bangladesh duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, regulators said in a statement.

Last November, 112 people were killed in a fire at a Bangladesh garment workshop that produced clothes for companies such as Wal-Mart.

For more InsideCounsel stories about illegal labor practices, see:

Chuck E. Cheese fined for child labor violations

Nestle to probe West African cocoa farms for suspected child labor

Shareholder sues Hershey over documents revealing alleged African child labor

Regulatory: A little-known anti-smuggling provision packs a knock-out anti-trafficking punch


Alanna Byrne

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