automotive industry

Volkswagen to compensate Brazil dictatorship victims

Agence France-Presse

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Volkswagen to compensate Brazil dictatorship victims

The company logo of German car maker Volkswagen (VW) is pictured at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, northern Germany, where is taking place the annual press conference on March 12, 2019. - Mammoth German carmaker Volkswagen reported growing profits and revenues in 2018, beating analysts' forecasts despite enormous charges linked to its "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal and headwinds from tough new pollution tests. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)


'We regret the violations that occurred in the past,' says Volkswagen, whose Brazilian security office was accused of collaborating with the 1964-1985 military regime

Volkswagen said on Wednesday, September 23, it had signed a deal with prosecutors to compensate former workers at the company’s Brazil unit for rights violations committed during the South American country’s military dictatorship.

Former workers and their families sued the German carmaker 5 years ago, alleging its Brazilian security office had collaborated with the military regime (1964-1985) to identify suspected opponents, who were then detained and tortured.

Under the deal with state and federal prosecutors in Brazil, VW will pay 36 million reais (5.5 million euros, $6.4 million) in compensation, including 16.8 million reais for workers and their families, plus donations to various projects including a memorial for victims of the regime, it said in a statement.

“We regret the violations that occurred in the past. For Volkswagen, it is important to deal responsibly with this negative chapter in Brazil’s history and promote transparency,” VW executive Hiltrud Werner said in the statement.

An independent review commissioned by the company in 2016 had found that security agents at Volkswagen do Brasil had cooperated with the military regime.

Brazil is still coming to terms with the abuses committed by the regime, which was responsible for the murder or disappearance of at least 434 people, according to the National Truth Commission established to investigate dictatorship-era crimes.

An estimated 20,000 people were tortured.

Current President Jair Bolsonaro, an army captain at the time, is an open admirer of the dictatorship.

The far-right leader has triggered controversy by saying the regime’s mistake was torturing rather than killing its opponents, and reinstating commemorations of the 1964 coup that installed it. –

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