Volkswagen has been accused of allegedly failing to prevent the torture and detention of its employees who were against the military dictatorship in Brazil, according to a civil lawsuit filed in Sao Paolo this week.
This is the second problem to hit the car maker this week, after it was revealed Volkswagen had used computer software to cheat clean air laws. The United States government ordered the company to recall 500,000 cars as a result, causing shares to plummet and wiping €15bn off its market value.
The civil lawsuit filed this week relates to the events in Sao Paolo between 1964 and 1985 during the country’s military dictatorship, and follows the findings of the government appointed National Truth Commission that was created in 2012 by President Dilma Rousseff to investigate abuses during this period.
In light of this investigation Volkswagen employees have brought a civil case against the company accusing it of allowing the torture and detention of employees by the then regime, AFP reports, though the Worker’s Forum for Truth, Justice and Activism told the news agency that it was “not the only company involved”.
The VW cars under investigation emit up to 40x the national standard for nitrogen oxide, which is linked to asthma & lung illnesses.— U.S. EPA (@EPA) September 18, 2015
Rosa Cardaso, who is representing some of the alleged victims and who is involved in the National Truth Commission, said: “Volkswagen employees were victims of torture and illegal detention, and others were laid off and placed on blacklists”.
Documents reportedly seen by Reuters news agency last year alleged that Volkswagen was among a number of automakers who helped the military to identify union activists and suspected “subversives” on the company payroll during this period.
The Independent has contacted Volkswagen over the allegations to request a comment but has yet to receive a response.
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