Germany's VW issues study on role during Brazil dictatorship
BERLIN – Volkswagen said Thursday that a study into its role during Brazil's 1964-85 military dictatorship concluded that some site security officials at its operations in Brazil cooperated with the regime but there was no clear evidence the collaboration was "institutionalized."
The German automaker has faced accusations it collaborated with the military government and drew up black lists on employees. The company last year commissioned Christopher Kopper, a history professor at Germany's Bielefeld University, to examine its role.
The company said Kopper concluded "there was cooperation between individuals of site security at Volkswagen do Brasil and the former military regime. But there is also no clear evidence found that the cooperation was institutionalized by the company."
Kopper's report said he found no clear evidence of "material assistance" for operating a military torture center.
The company and human rights activists held a ceremony promoting the report at VW's unit in Sao Bernardo do Campo, but a handful of former employees and dictatorship victims refused to attend and held a protest at the entrance.
"We don't want a celebration. We want justice," said Lucio Bellentani, a Communist Party member who once worked for Volkswagen.
Bellentani, now 73, was arrested and tortured while working for VW on July 28, 1972. He was put in prison, where he also was tortured.
Associated Press video journalist Renata Brito in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.