UPDATE 2-Brazil prosecutors file $44 bln lawsuit against Vale, BHP for dam spill
* Prosecutors seek $2.16 bln payment upfront
* Vale, BHP say yet to receive notice of claim
* BHP shares drop as much as 7.8 pct (Adds BHP comment, share drop)
By Stephen Eisenhammer
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 3 (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a 155 billion-real ($43.5 billion) civil lawsuit on Tuesday against iron miner Samarco and its owners, Vale SA and BHP Billiton, for a collapsed tailings dam in November that killed 19 people and polluted a major river.
The 359-page lawsuit, which is also against the two states affected by the spill and the federal government, is the result of a six-month investigation led by a task force set up after the disaster, prosecutors said in a statement.
The total damages, prosecutors said, were calculated based on the cost of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. BP's total pre-tax charge for that spill, in 2010, reached $53.8 billion.
Prosecutors demanded an initial payment of 7.7 billion reais.
Vale and BHP both said they had not received formal notice of the claim. Continuación...