Volkswagen says a study has revealed that security guards at its operation in Brazil cooperated with the country's 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
The study that was commissioned by the German automaker last year did not find any evidence, however, that the cooperation was "institutionalized," according to Christopher Kopper, a history professor at Germany's Bielefeld University, who conducted the study.
Kopper said in the study "there was cooperation between individuals of site security at Volkswagen with Brazil and the former military regime. But there is also no clear evidence found that the cooperation was institutionalized by the company."
The study found that "Works Security monitored opposition activities by the company's employees, and by its conduct aided the arrest of at least seven members of staff."
Volkswagen said Kopper's research was based on statements from former employees, documents from Volkswagen's corporate archives in Germany and Brazil and Brazilian state archives.
The results of the study were announced Thursday at VW's factory at Sao Bernardo do Campo.
Former employees and human rights activists held a demonstration outside the factory, protesting VW's refusal to issue a formal apology and compensate victims.
"We don't want a celebration. We want justice," said Lucio Bellentanio, a Communist Party member who once worked for Volkswagen. He says he was arrested and tortured while working for VW and later suffered months of torture while in prison.
The company says it does not plan to extend the study and has no plans to provide financial compensation to victims.