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Feds present 21 indictment requests for Brumadinho disaster

indictments Brumadinho disaster
Land field invaded by mud river, following the Brumadinho dam collapse. Photo: Christyam de Lima/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Federal Police requested the indictment of 19 people and two companies on 270 counts of murder for the 2019 Brumadinho dam disaster. On January 25 of that year, a tailings dam collapsed outside the town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais, releasing a deluge of toxic sludge that destroyed surrounding villages and killed 270 people — some bodies are still missing.

The names of the individuals were not disclosed by authorities, but marshals told the press they are consultants, engineers, managers, and executives who failed to ensure that the tailings dam was safe. 

Moreover, authorities are going after mining giant Vale — the dam’s owner — and German industrial auditor TÜV SÜD, which certified the safety of the structure despite glaring reported flaws, due to fears of losing Vale as a client.

State prosecutors in Minas Gerais presented charges against 16 people in February 2020, but the Superior Court of Justice — Brazil’s second-highest judicial body — ruled that the case is under federal jurisdiction.

Almost three years after the tragedy, many of the affected families remain homeless, as The Brazilian Report revealed back in January.

Vale’s ADR (American depositary receipts) are down almost 3 percent in New York’s pre-market — but not because of the indictment request. Instead, markets are jittery about the yet-to-be-assessed effects of a new coronavirus variant in Africa.