An Italian court has convicted two businessmen of negligence over some 2200 asbestos-related deaths.
The Turin court said the Swiss tycoon and a Belgian baron had failed to comply with safety rules at the building firm Eternit, where they were key shareholders.
Prosecutors argued that thousands had died from contact with asbestos fibres processed in four of the firm's plants.
Swiss Schmidheiny, 64, and Belgian De Cartier, 90, were sentenced in absentia to 16 years each in prison on Monday.
The court said the two had failed to comply with safety rules at building firm Eternit, where they were key shareholders. They denied the charges.
Prosecutors said Eternit's plants had spread asbestos fibres over parts of northern Italy by allowing powder left over from production of roof coverings and pipes to waft through the air.
Some 1500 relatives and supporters of the victims watched the final day of the trial on large television screens set up in Turin.
Eternit closed its operations in Italy in 1986 - six years before asbestos was banned in the country.