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Brazil: Federal Prosecutors file homicide charges against 21 people in connection with Doce River socioenvironmental disaster; Samarco, Vale and BHP refute charges

“Brazil Charges 21 People With Homicide in Samarco Mining Dam Collapse-Current and former officials from Vale SA and BHP Billiton and joint venture Samarco Mineração named”, 20 October 2016

...Brazilian federal prosecutors filed homicide charges...[on 20 October]...against 21 people in connection with a catastrophic collapse of a mining dam last year that killed 19 people...[, including]...top executives of...Vale...[,]...BHP Billiton...[and]...Samarco...[as]...former Samarco Chief Executive Ricardo Vescovi, Vale’s current iron-ore director Peter Poppinga,...eight Vale and BHP representatives at Samarco...[C]harges mark the end of a nearly yearlong criminal investigation into...failure of Samarco’s Fundão tailings dam in...Brazil. Believed to be the biggest disaster of its kind anywhere...[and that]…released a torrent of sludge that washed away villages, displaced hundreds of people and traveled more than 400 miles through southeast Brazil’s Rio Doce basin before reaching the...[o]cean...[T]he river is still tainted a rusty red from sediment...Additional charges...include...crimes of causing a flood, landslide and grave bodily harm. Vale, BHP and Samarco were also charged with 12 different kinds of environmental crimes. Employees of a consulting firm that performed periodic checkups...were charged with presenting false stability reports...Samarco...BHP Billiton...[and]...Vale...[refute the charges]...[They]...apologized for the disaster and committed to a full remediation of the damage....Brazilian courts rejected a March settlement signed by the companies and the government. Prosecutors are seeking to replace it with a civil lawsuit filed in May...