The Frenchman who sold tens of thousands of faulty silicone breast implants around the world, including more than 40,000 in Britain, has been jailed for fraud.

With hundreds of women looking on, a court in Marseille handed Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of Poly Implant Prothese, the maximum four-year jail term on the aggravated fraud charge. He was also fined €75,000 (£63,000).

Around 125,000 women underwent plastic surgery with PIP implants filled with industrial grade silicone and prone to leak.

And in a decision that could affect thousands of women worldwide who have sought financial reparations, the court also ruled that the German product-testing company TUeV Rheinland, which cleared PIP for certification, was also a victim of Mas's fraud.

It was not clear how the verdict affects a decision in a Toulon commercial court last month that ordered TUeV to pay damages to more than 1600 women and six distributors for the implants. TUeV denies responsibility and has promised to appeal against the commercial court ruling, which opens it to the possibility of at least €50 million (£42m) in damages - about £2500 per woman, lawyers say.

Mas has since dissolved the company. Because PIP is bankrupt, the 5000 women who have joined a complaint against the French company are unlikely to retrieve much compensation. But TUeV, a leader in the industry which was charged with checking the quality of the implants, has deep pockets.

PIP once claimed its factory in southern France exported to more than 60 countries and was among the world's top implant makers. Government estimates show more than 42,000 women in Britain received the implants, more than 30,000 in France, 25,000 in Brazil, 16,000 in Venezuela and 15,000 in Colombia.

Sales of the implants ended in March 2010. After the first reports emerged of implants rupturing, regulators across Europe tightened oversight of medical devices.

Trisha Devine, who leads the PiP Implants Scotland campaign said: "The sentencing of Mas to four years in jail goes some way to recognising the huge pain and anxiety his crimes have caused. Women all over the world have suffered and continue to suffer terrible health problems because of this man's greed."

Patrick McGuire, from Thompsons Solicitors, which represents many of the Scottish women involved in the PiP scandal, said "Mas and his accomplices' perpetrated a fraud which had the most enormous impact on the health of women all round the world.

"It beggars belief he could have got away with this for so long and chances were missed to stop him. If any good can come of this awful crime then surely we must take the opportunity to properly regulate cosmetic procedures in Scotland's private clinics."