Eight Vale workers arrested in crackdown

They were held in connection with the rupture of the Brumadinho dam

Published in 15/02/2019 - 11:43 By Carolina Gonçalves - Brasília

Eight employees of mining giant Vale were temporarily arrested today (Feb 15) as part of an operation launched by prosecutors in Minas Gerais state, backed by civil and military police in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.

Those targeted by the detention warrants are suspected of being criminally responsible for the collapse of the  tailings dam run by Vale in Brumadinho on January 25. Among the suspects imprisoned are four managers and four technicians directly linked to security and stability at the enterprise.

All are to be under custody for 30 days and will be heard by the prosecution in state capital Belo Horizonte. In addition to aggravated homicide, they will answer for environmental crimes and identity theft.

Fourteen search and seizure order are being served in three Brazilian states, including at Vale’s Rio headquarters. Computers and documents were confiscated by the police.

Germany firm implicated

Also targeted were four workers from German company Tüv Süd, which provided stabilization services for the broken dam, among whom a director.

“According to the prosecutors, the measures are founded on concrete evidence collected thus far during the probes conducted by the task force, and are crucial for the thorough investigation of the facts,” an official note reads.

In a note, Vale pledged to continue collaborating with the authorities. “Vale will continue to collaborate with the investigations for the investigation of the facts and the unconditional support for the families affected.”

*Vitor Abdala, in Rio de Janeiro, contributed to this article.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Talita Cavalcante / Augusto Queiroz

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