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A Brazilian federal judge has accepted homicide and environmental criminal charges against 22 people and four mining companies involved in last year's deadly Samarco dam burst.Judge Jacques de Queiroz Ferreira gave the green light to indictments accusing Samarco and its co-owners Vale and BHP Billiton, as well as the VogBR consultancy, of culpability in the November 5 collapse of an iron ore tailings dam in the Minas Gerais region. Twenty one people, including senior executives, face charges of "qualified homicide" and environmental crimes.The mining companies have agreed to pay billions of dollars in compensation but in May prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against Vale, BHP and Samarco seeking 155 billion reais ($49 billion).
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