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Ex-Vale CEO, employees charged with homicide over Feijao tailings dam breach

Fabio Schvartsman, the former CEO of Brazilian mining giant Vale SA, was charged with 270 counts of homicide due to the fatal collapse of the Feijao iron ore mine tailings dam in January 2019, Bloomberg reported Jan. 21.

Other former employees of the company were also accused of homicide, while Vale and contractor TÜV SÜD AG were charged with environmental crimes.

"Fabio Schvartsman acted directly to create corporate incentives, not to avoid risks, but to channel efforts into protecting Vale’s market value," William Coelho, a state prosecutor, told reporters in Minas Gerais.

Andressa Lanchotti, coordinator of the task force investigating the disaster, said that "the company initially denied any risks at all."

Schvartsman took a leave from his post in March last year following federal prosecutors' recommendation for immediate exit.

The report noted that the former CEO pushed to ramp up production to between 390 million tonnes and 400 million tonnes by 2019, but the disaster led to a much lower output of about 350 million tonnes.

Vale's American depositary receipts on the NYSE closed at US$13.25, down 2.8% for the biggest decline since November.

Earlier, Reuters reported that a total of 15 to 20 people were expected to be indicted in relation to the disaster.