Brazil Charges 21 People With Homicide in Samarco Mining Dam Collapse – by Paul Kiernan (Wall Street Journal – October 20, 2016)

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil—Brazilian federal prosecutors filed homicide charges Thursday against 21 people in connection with a catastrophic dam collapse last year that killed 19 people.

Those charged include current and former officials of mining giants Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd. and their joint-venture Samarco Mineração SA.

Among them are former Samarco Chief Executive Ricardo Vescovi, Vale’s current iron-ore director Peter Poppinga, and five Vale and BHP officials who sat on Samarco’s board in recent years.

The individuals were further charged with crimes of causing a flood, landslide and grave bodily harm. In addition, Vale, BHP and Samarco were charged with 12 different kinds of environmental crimes.

If convicted, the individuals could face sentences of between 12 and 30 years in prison for the crime of “qualified homicide.” The individuals couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Vale, BHP and Samarco didn’t immediately comment on the charges.

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