Brazil court denies request to make BASF, Shell pay nearly $500m

01 June 2012 22:37  [Source: ICIS news]

SAO PAULO (ICIS)--The Regional Labour Court in Campinas, Brazil, denied a request by the Public Ministry to force oil company Shell and chemical company BASF to immediately pay Brazilian reais (R) 1bn ($495m, €400m) into a compensation fund for hundreds of workers allegedly contaminated at an agricultural chemicals plant, the courts said on Friday.

The sum is the total updated value from compensations determined by the previous rulings. The court determined that the amount would only be considered after the higher court in Brasilia takes up the case.

Prosecutors are seeking compensation after studies showed that agrochemicals from the plant had contaminated the soil and water.

Prosecutors said former workers at the plant and its neighbours have shown health problems such as prostate cancer and thyroid diseases. Over 60 former workers at the plant have died recently, according to press reports.

The plant began operations in the late 1970s and was closed in 2002. During its life, the plant was owned by Shell, American Cyanamid and BASF.

Shell told ICIS that the decision confirms the company’s position that the Public Ministry’s request came before the actual court ruling.

BASF told ICIS in a statement in Portuguese that it trusts Brazil’s justice system as well as the decision related to the ruling of the case.

($1 = R2.02)

By: Hellen Berger
+1 713 525 2653

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