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A Brazilian court has rejected a request from prosecutors that Shell Brasil SA and chemical company BASF SA deposit $500 million into a fund for workers allegedly contaminated at an agricultural chemicals plant.

Thursday's ruling says the companies don't have to make any deposit until a final decision is made in a continuing class-action lawsuit.

Prosecutors asked that the Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary and Germany-based BASF SE subsidiary pay $500 million into an account now so it could immediately be available once a higher court rules.

In a statement, Shell questioned whether pollution from the plant in Sao Paulo state that was closed in 2002 caused health problems.

Shell originally owned the plant, but sold it to American Cyanamid in 1995. BASF bought American Cyanamid in 2000.

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