By Marcus Leach

Herald Espenhahn, the chief executive officer in Italy for steel firm ThyssenKrupp has been sentenced to 16 and a half years in jail following a fatal fire in one of the company's plants.

Seven employees died in 2007 after a fire tore through a ThyssenKrupp building, for which the company as an institution has been fined €1 million (£899,903), according to Reuters.

Top company officials Marco Pucci, Gerald Pregnitz, Giuseppe Salerno and Cosimo Cafueri were all sentenced to 13 and a half years in jail, while another boss - Daniele Moroni - has been given 10 years and 10 months.

Raffaele Guariniello, the prosecutor for the case, told the news provider that he hoped the verdict would "mean a lot for health and safety at the workplace".

ThyssenKrupp, an international conglomerate with its headquarters in Germany, was also banned from taking advantage of state subsidies for six months.