UPDATE 1-Brazil court freezes $130 million of Samarco assets
(Adds Samarco statement, paragraphs 5, 6)
RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 22 (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge blocked 500 million reais ($127 million) of assets of Samarco, a joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Billiton, to guarantee the clean up and repair of a town hit by a deadly flood caused by a burst tailings dam in November, local prosecutors said on Monday.
In a statement, the Minas Gerais state prosecutors who requested the judicial action said the mudslide had destroyed schools, water and sewage networks, football pitches and public buildings in the town of Barra Longa and surrounding area.
As well as the asset freeze, the judge approved a 500,000 reais daily fine if the companies do not present a plan within 30 days to fix the damage caused. The repair work must be completed within six months.
The decision was first reported by newspaper O Globo earlier this month but only became public on Monday.
Samarco said in a statement that the funds are needed for the company to continue with the cleanup and that it was working to lift the freeze.
BHP declined to comment for the report while Vale did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
($1 = 3.943 reais) (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by David Gregorio)
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