Germany’s Volkswagen will pay about 36 million Brazilian reais ($6.5 million) in compensation and donations to atone for the persecution of its former employees during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, the carmaker said this week..
A government-appointed commission investigating abuses during Brazil’s dictatorship found evidence that companies including Volkswagen secretly helped the military identify suspected “subversives” and union activists on their payrolls.
Many of the workers were then fired, detained or harassed by police, and were unable to find new jobs for years afterward, a Reuters investigation showed in 2014.
Volkswagen said it signed a settlement agreement on Wednesday with Brazilian state and federal prosecutors in Sao Paulo that includes the payment of 16.8 million reais ($3 million) to an association of former employees and their surviving dependents. The remainder of the money will be donated to various human rights-related efforts.
The Brazilian prosecutors said in a statement that the deal will settle three probes launched since 2015.
Volkswagen said in its statement that while the investigation found cooperation between its Brazilian security agents and the military regime, there was no clear evidence that cooperation was institutionalized in the company.