/Brazil dam collapse: Murder charges filed by prosecutors

Brazil dam collapse: Murder charges filed by prosecutors

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Media captionThe moment the dam collapsed

Brazilian prosecutors have filed charges including murder in relation to the collapse of a dam a year ago that killed at least 250 people.

The collapse in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais state, in January 2019 was Brazil’s worst industrial accident.

Mining giant Vale and German auditor Tüv Süd face environmental charges, with 16 individuals who worked for the companies facing charges of murder.

The prosecutors’ charges will have to be approved by a judge.

Among the individuals charged is the former chief executive of Vale, Fabio Schvartsman, Reuters news agency reported.

The 16 individuals have also been charged with environmental crimes.

Vale has been accused of failing to report warning signs before the dam engulfed a canteen, offices and farms.

Last July, a Brazilian judge ordered Vale to pay compensation for the collapse of the dam, saying that the company was responsible for fixing all the damage, including the economic effects.

The same month, emails emerged that showed Tüv Süd’s own analysis of the dam initially failed to meet official requirements.

Tüv Süd inspected the dam in the months before the collapse.

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Media captionBrazil’s mining dams: A disaster waiting to happen?

It was a “tailings” dam – an embankment filled with waste product – and decades of waste from the nearby mine had been piled up and grassed over.

The German firm said it was co-operating with “authorities and institutions in Brazil and Germany in the context of ongoing investigations”.

It said it was “deeply saddened” by the disaster but added that the “real causes” had yet to be determined.

Vale is yet to comment on the charges.