Prosecutors in Brazil filed new charges against the former CEO of mining giant Vale and 15 others with murder and environmental crimes over the deadly collapse of a tailings dam at a mine in Minas Gerais state.

The company has already been found guilty in the collapse, which sent a massive wave of mining waste over Vale's plant offices, and workers' canteen on 25 January 2019, killing 270 people.  The toxic red torrent buried the village of Bento Rodrigues and fouled the Paraopeba River - the region's main river - which supplies water to one third of the Greater Belo Horizonte regionspilling out over the countryside. 

The new charges target Vale's former CEO Fabio Schvarstman and ten other employees, as well as five employees of German company TUV SUD.  Prosecutors say they acted in concert to doctor documents to present the Corrego do Feijao dam as safer than it actually was in order to protect the company's reputation.

"The object of these omissions was to avoid any negative reputational impacts to Vale that could affect its market value," said prosecutor William Garcia.  "TUD SUD and Vale systematically concealed from society, shareholders and investors the real gravity of the situation."