Tag Archive | "texaco"

Ecuador: National Court Ratifies Verdict against Chevron

Chevron's toxic legacy in Ecuador (photo: Rainforest Action Network)

Chevron’s toxic legacy in Ecuador (photo: Rainforest Action Network)

The Ecuadorian National Court of Justice (CNJ) has ratified a verdict against oil giant Chevron for grave environmental pollution.

The verdict, given by Sucumbíos Court and ratified by the CNJ, sentences the corporation to pay US$9.5bn in damages.

The Ecuadorian tribunal previously sentenced Chevron in January 2012 to pay the fine of US$19bn yet they failed to pay this.

The resolution is presented in a 222-page document, and noted that the original fine of US$9.5bn was doubled in 2012, as the company did not publicly apologise for the environmental damage, raising the fine to US$19bn.

According to prosecution lawyer, Pablo Fajardo, the verdict decided that the public apology did not form a part of “national jurisdictional order” in Ecuador and therefore the “punitive damages” do not need to be paid.

The compensation that must be paid by Chevron is US$8.6bn, with an additional 10% that the law states must be paid in reparation to the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía, a body that assembles those living in the area affected, including indigenous people and settlers, which sued Chevron.

Fajardo noted that the verdict of the CNJ is the “last resort” and was grateful that the court has ratified the sentence against Chevron. He noted that the elimination of the clause of “punitive damages” is unfortunate as it allows “the irresponsible conduct of Chevron to remain unsanctioned”.

“We are pleased with the sentence that we have, it’s a large step, it a sign of justice if it functions and shows that the poor also have a right to justice,” he said.

Chevron, who has yet to release a statement on the CNJ’s verdict, is currently engaged in a related legal battle in New York, where it is suing the prosecutors for corruption for having committed “fraud” against them. They have also tried to take indigenous community lawyers to court for conspiracy and extortion.

The oil company was sentenced for grave environmental damage for the damage caused whilst functioning as Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) in the Amazon region of the country, where they extracted crude oil between 1964 and 1992.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Chevron’s Argentine Assets Frozen Following Environmental Dispute

An Argentine judge embargoed Argentine-based assets belonging to the US-based oil company Chevron yesterday in light of an unpaid settlement to Ecuadorian villagers for environmental contamination. Enrique Bruchou, the plaintiffs’ attorney in Argentina, estimates that Chevron’s assets in the country total about US$2b, though the ruling accounts for up to US$19b, the settlement total.

“The freeze order applies to the entire US$19b amount of the Ecuador judgment, meaning that Chevron will effectively be barred from investing further in Argentina unless it wants to risk seizure of those assets as well,” read a statement from the plaintiffs.

The move continues a nearly 20-year long legal battle after indigenous tribe members and farmers claimed that the oil company Texaco, Inc. polluted their Amazonian watershed for 30 years, causing environmental damage and medical complications among local community members. Chevron Corporation acquired Texaco, Inc. in 2001. Ecuadorian courts found Chevron liable and doled out a US$19b settlement, which the oil giant has refused to pay, claiming bribery and fraud on the courts’ part. “We do not believe that the Ecuadorian judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law,” the company stated. A fraud suit is set to begin in the United States in October of 2013.

Because Chevron has no significant assets in Ecuador itself, the plaintiffs have attempted to leverage asset freezes in other countries to procure settlement payment. Argentine judge Adrian Elcuj Miranda’s ruling includes 100% of Chevron’s capital in Argentina, 100% of dividends, all stake in Oleoductos del Valle SA, a key pipeline operation company, 40% of oil sales to Argentine refineries, and 40% of cash in Argentine banks. The ruling will stand until the entire settlement owed to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs is paid.

“We consider this to be an exemplary ruling,” Bruchou said. “We are letting the world know that foreign investment is welcome in Latin America, but that investors must adhere to the same environmental standards that apply in their own countries”.

Chevron claimed via an emailed statement that it has not been notified of any Argentine rulings. It claims that any such decision would be invalid because “all operations in Argentina are conducted by subsidiaries that have nothing to do with the plaintiffs’ fraud in Ecuador…. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have no legal right to embargo subsidiary assets in Argentina and should not be allowed to disrupt Argentina’s pursuit of its important energy resources”.

The company’s net production in the country hit 26,000 barrels of crude oil per day and four million cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2011, according to the company website, making it Argentina’s fourth-largest oil producer. In September, YPF SA, the recently nationalized Argentine oil company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Chevron for a joint exploration project of Argentine unconventional gas and oil resources. Chevron also owns 14% of Oleoductos del Valle SA, which transports crude oil from Western Argentina to the Buenos Aires area via pipeline. An informational technology centre in Buenos Aires supports Chevron’s North American offices.

Last spring, the plaintiffs’ attorneys filed similar suits in Brazil and Canada and plan to extend their requests to Asia, Oceania, and Europe.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (1)

Ecuador: Chevron Appeals US$8bn Fine

The US oil company, Chevron, has appealed against the ruling delivered in February 2011. The multinational suggested that the verdict was “tainted by fraud”.

According to a statement from the petroleum giant, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have “corrupted the trial”. They also denounced attempts to “fabricate” evidence and claimed that the legal representatives of the affected communities made efforts to “pressure” the judges

The claimant communities also claim that the company attempted to pressure the judges, in an attempt to delay the judicial process even further.

Last month, the court judge from the province of Sucumbíos, Nicolás Zambrano, delivered the sentence after 17 years of litigation.

Chevron was convicted of spilling toxic waste between 1964 and 1990 that led to health and environmental damages in the Ecuadorian regions of the Amazon.

The representatives of the affected communities also commented on the compensation in excess of US$8bn, which has been applied to the company by the judiciary.

Story courtesy of Agencia Púlsar, the news agency of Amarc-Alc

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Ecuador: Chevron Facing US$18bn Fine

The Ecuadorian courts yesterday ordered the petrol company Chevron to pay US$18.2bn for environmental damages. The company said that it would appeal the decision, labelling it “illegitimate and unenforceable”.

The provincial court judge in Sucumbíos, Nicolás Zambrano, delivered the sentence after 17 years of litigation.

Ecuadorian indigenous communites began the process in 1993 in US courts. A decade later the case was transferred to Ecuador.

The communities denounced Texaco for spilling toxic waste between 1964 and 1990, which resulted in damages to heath and the environment. Chevron bought the Texaco company in 2001, while it was continuing with the litigation.

The company confirmed that it would appeal the ruling. It indicated that steps had been taken in the US and in international courts to suspend the application of the sentence.

Last week, a panel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration temporarily banned the application of any ruling issued by the Ecuadorian court against Chevron.

At the same time, a judge in New York also issued a temporary order to prevent the company from being charged compensation.

The Ecuadorian indigenous communities are, meanwhile, demanding even greater financial compensation. However, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Pablo Fajardo, was able to state that “this story is beginning to change.”

Story courtesy of Agencia Púlsar, the news agency of AMARC-ALC

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

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