Brazil judge denies request to freeze 26.7 billion reais in Vale accounts

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge denied a request to freeze 26.7 billion reais ($4.81 billion) in miner Vale SA's VALE3.SA accounts, the courthouse said on Tuesday, in a decision related to losses incurred after the Brumadinho tailings dam burst last year.

The decision is a setback for prosecutors, who have been taking a series of legal actions against the company related to the disaster, which unleashed an avalanche of mud that killed an estimated 270 people in Brumadinho city, burying many of them alive.

Judge Elton Pupo Nogueira said Vale was collaborating in resource allocations. Vale said in a statement that it had already blocked 11 billion reais following the disaster, between guarantees and deposit orders.

The judge set a conciliatory meeting for Oct. 22 at the court in Belo Horizonte.

Prosecutors had asked to block the large amount of cash because they allege that the 2019 dam break caused Minas Gerais more than 45 billion reais in losses and more cash would be needed to secure restitutions.

State judges had previously granted requests to freeze Vale assets, in petitions made immediately following the mining disaster, the deadliest in Brazil’s history.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Roberto Samora; Editing by Steve Orlofsky